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First Presbyterian’s Furniture Mission kicks off another season

By Ben Calwell, Metro Reporter
BEN CALWELL | Metro
Through the end of August, the Furniture Mission, a program of First Presbyterian Church of South Charleston, is collecting gently used furniture and appliances for those in need. The donations are distributed by Heart & Hand Outreach Ministries. At left is Vicki Ballengee, HHOM executive director, with Furniture Mission coordinator Tom Titus.

The storage building behind First Presbyterian Church of South Charleston is a little empty at the moment, but that’s likely to change in the coming weeks, as the church’s Furniture Mission gears up for another season.

The Furniture Mission is about 25 years old, said long-time coordinator, Tom Titus. The program, which seeks donations of good, used furniture, started over the Memorial Day weekend. The program works in cooperation with Heart & Hand Outreach Ministries.

Vicki Ballengee, executive director of HHOM, said her organization distributes what Furniture Mission volunteers collect to families in need.

“All the furniture that they collect and keep in their storage building back here, it’s for us to distribute. They do this for the Heart & Hand program,” Ballengee said.

Furniture Mission volunteers collect furniture and other items every other Saturday through the end of August. To arrange a pickup of furniture, call First Presbyterian Church, 304-744-2333, or Heart & Hand, 304-744-6741.

When someone calls for a furniture pickup, volunteers call them on the day of the pickup to make sure “they’re still in line, up and ready,” Titus said.

Furniture Mission volunteers cover the “greater Kanawha Valley, and we’ll go to Hurricane and the Elkview area,” he said.

Several other churches in the area help with the program, but Titus said he can always use more volunteers.

Ballengee said Heart & Hand also has a truck and will pick up furniture donations, as well.

“We do pickups, but there’s a lot more activity over the summer because of what they (Furniture Mission) do,” she said.

Titus said donated items must be in good, useable shape. Pianos, however, are not accepted, and older, non-flat-panel TVs are also not accepted.

“Nobody wants those anymore,” Ballengee said.

The Furniture Mission will accept appliances, such as stoves and refrigerators, that are in working condition. However, people tend not to donate appliances, Titus said.

“We want appliances, we just rarely ever get any appliances. We want them as long as they’re working -- we don’t repair anything.”

Those who rely on Heart & Hand for assistance, such as clothing vouchers, food pantry items and utility assistance, are eligible to receive furniture from the Furniture Mission.

“Furniture is part of that,” she said.

Sometimes, Heart & Hand clients make requests for specific types of furniture, such as a bed for a child, she said.

Last year Heart & Hand moved to 212 D St., South Charleston. It operates a thrift store there, and money generated from that is used to support its many programs.

Apart from the Furniture Mission, Heart & Hand accepts donations of furniture, clothes and other items from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Items must be clean before being dropped off at the back of Heart & Hand.

Thrift store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Monday.

For more information about the Furniture Mission, or to request a pickup of furniture, call 304-744-2333; for more information about Heart & Hand Outreach Ministries, call 304-744-6741.


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