Through Epworth’s involvement in building a Habitat House, Feed the 5000, and Adopt-A-Family, it became abundantly clear that there are many families in the Toledo area who lack many of the basic elements we all take for granted in our homes. Having a bed for each family member or being able to sit at a table to eat are luxuries that often are not even a consideration for a family struggling to pay the rent, buy gas, and pay for the utilities. Last fall, as a result of our participation in building a Habitat Home, we discovered that the Habitat family had no beds to sleep on. What did the Epworth congregation do? We were able to supply good used furniture for the three bedrooms of their new home. Two other families were also in need and the furniture they needed “appeared.” These families were provided with the material items to support their new circumstances as well as giving hope for the future. With the furniture now in place in the homes, the Wesley House garage was almost empty. Our “vessel” was empty and the next thing that happened was that the offers began arriving again to fill the “vessel.” More needs were discovered and we found that we were on our way to becoming “Disciples for Jesus Christ by serving those in need.” The ministry was born!
It is an unexpected opportunity for all of us to offer hope for those who have felt hopeless and invisible. At Epworth's May Administrative Council meeting, this new ministry was blessed by the Council. Initially, we have been working with FOCUS and the YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter to provide the basics for those trying to start a new and safe life for themselves and their families. This service will be evaluated in the future for expansion to other groups & agencies. The Council gave the encouragement necessary to proceed with this service to a community in need. Furniture was being stored in the Wesley House, which was full and over-flowing with the generous donations. A larger space was needed. God provided for our needs as we have now been “gifted” with ample storage and distribution space in the Perrysburg area. This new space is called the ministry’s “Furniture Mart.”
The Furniture Ministry will accept donations of good used furniture and household goods. Donation pick-up services will be provided twice per month. Selection and distribution currently happens once per month on the third Saturday of each month, which we call “Selection Saturday.” Our first “Selection Saturday” was May 31, 2008 as we provided opportunities to receive furnishings and goods to five families.