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'Furnishing Hope': Hudson Furniture Bank Helps Families In Need

HUDSON (CBS) - We've all heard of food banks, but there are "furniture banks" helping people in need furnish their homes.

The Fresh Start Furniture Bank in Hudson helps hundreds of families every year, and you may be surprised to learn that even with a so-called good economy, the need is growing.

It's a busy day for donations at the Fresh Start Furniture Bank where the motto is 'furnishing hope'.

Sue Waudby
Sue Waudby (WBZ-TV)

"Fresh Start is a furniture bank where we hand out free furniture and housewares to families in need," said Sue Waudby, Fresh Start's director. She and Geoff Schultz run the project. The Hudson non-profit is completely staffed by volunteers motivated to help others.

"Our clients tend to be people who've lost everything to addiction, mental illness. We have families moving out of shelters, domestic violence shelters, family shelters. They could be the working poor," Waudby said.

Each family is referred to Fresh Start by a social service agency. They can choose whatever they need; furniture, dishes, sheets and blankets, even small appliances.  Mary Roemer brought in her donations Thursday morning.

"It's mostly kitchen items that we've had. And my kids drop things off and we just give things, because it's nice to give back," she said.

Even at a time of low unemployment, Fresh Start recently expanded in hopes of filling the increasing need.

"It increases ever year by roughly 30-40%," Waudby said.  "We are going to help over 600 families with over 20,000 pieces of furniture and house wares."

Fresh Start Furniture Bank
Workers at Fresh Start Furniture Bank. (WBZ-TV)

And that couldn't happen without about 100 volunteers.

"The real satisfaction comes in when you load their vehicle and they thank you and you know they're off to a better day," said Bob Van Emburgh, a longtime volunteer and board member.

Fresh Start is one of nine furniture banks in Massachusetts.

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