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Sunday Spotlight: The Blessing Board On A Mission To Furnish Homes And Improve Lives

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Imagine having a place to call home, but no furniture to call your own or the money to pay for it.

The Blessing Board is giving those struggling a shopping trip of a lifetime, especially for Steve Tate.

He had nothing, but on Wednesday, he had a whole warehouse of items to choose from.

"I'm bipolar, so I had some issues this summer and I went through a lot and I lost a lot of stuff," said Tate. "So it's good to collect some stuff now and try to rebuild my life."

The Blessing Board helped Tate start fresh.

The non-profit organization collects household items and furniture to donate to those who can't afford it.

It started in a church in 2007 and expanded to two warehouses – in Pittsburgh and McKeesport.

"We get about 800 phone calls a month, men and women who are in various stages of need," said Rich Garland, the executive director of The
Blessing Board. "It might be men and women coming from fire or flood victims. Women escaping domestic violence, men and women coming out of incarceration, homeless people, veterans."

Garland said they can only serve about 150 people each month.

Tate said being chosen was a blessing.

Garland said their mission wouldn't be possible without the more than 300 volunteers who sort items, pack cars and guide guests through the showroom.

"Every time I come I get excited, and I feel like I get more of a blessing because I like to make people feel like their home when they go back to where they live," said Laurel Houck, who volunteers often with The Blessing Board.

The volunteers make them feel at home while also supporting them -- a feeling most are missing.

"No matter what you're going through, no matter the struggles, you're loved today," said Garland.

"That means the world to me because at times I thought I didn't have anybody," said Tate.

Tate drove away that day with furniture and friendship.

The executive director said they've served more than 9,000 families so far.

They're always looking for more volunteers and donations. For more information, go to The Blessing Board website.

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