For Goodness Sake, a non profit organization that provides furniture and other household items to the formerly homeless, served their 1,000th client on Saturday, Jan. 26 at their new facility at 123 Whiting St., Unit A, Plainville.
FGS defines homeless broadly, according to director of marketing, Pam Morgan, who said “some people are victims of domestic violence, some people have had a house fire or a mold problem, or it’s a family with multiple kids” who have been couch surfing with family or friends. All of the clients served by FGS are referred by social service agencies.
After being greeted with a snack and coffee, clients begin their FGS experience with a “welcome home basket” a laundry basket they are able to fill with household items such as laundry detergent, toothpaste, and even baby products like baby wipes and bottle nipples.
Clients, accompanied by a trained “shopper,” will then go through the warehouse picking out furniture such as couches, bed frames, dining tables and dish sets, artwork, lamps, and small household appliances such as microwaves and crock pots.
Morgan said FGS struggles to keep their dresser area stocked because “a family a four, they might need three dressers.” They’ll see an average of 10 clients a weekend, and while not every client is a family of four, Morgan said FGS can easily go through 20 dressers in a weekend.
FGS also offers mattresses, some of which are brand new and donated by Connecticut Mattress.
“Almost everyone who comes in says they’re sleeping on an air mattress and that the air mattress is leaking,” said Morgan. Founder and president of FGS, Kendra Morales, agreed and stressed the importance of individuals having their own bed, saying “people need their personal space,” be it a child, mother, or father.
Most clients that come to FGS have previously made an appointment, but recently, the organization created a new policy – if you have your own truck, or do not require FGS to deliver your new housewares, you are welcome to visit during their hours of operation; Saturdays from 9 a.m., to 1 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m., excluding holidays.
At For Goodness Sake, the volunteers are just as important as the clients being served. Volunteers are offered breakfast every morning, and lunch is either a potluck meal or “we have something brought in for them,” explained Morales. “As much as we do for clients, it’s almost equal what we give and what we get for volunteers.”
Morales described volunteering with FGS as having an “element of instant gratification,” as volunteers work closely with each client, and are able to see a how their efforts will impact a family.
“The goal when I started this was I want this to be an experience. I don’t want this to be a charity, it’s not something that we’re “giving to,” it’s a “giving with”,” said Morales. “There’s an exchange of, and I think everybody who walks through the door- it’s hard to come in and receive help, and every volunteer that we have here I want to make sure that they know that – that our mission is one of empathy.”
If you are interested in donating new or gently used furniture and household items, drop offs are welcome during the hours of operation, and can be brought to the warehouse. FGS also offers a pickup service, available to residents of Bristol, Burlington, Farmington, Harwinton, New Britain, Plainville, Plantsville, Plymouth, Southington, Unionville, West Hartford, and Wolcott.
The furniture pickup form can be found online, at www.forgoodnessake.org.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.