I first got involved with The Blessing Board in 2016. The more involved I become, the more I love about the organization and all the people who are part of it. The mission of The Blessing Board is “to provide donated household furnishings to those in need at no cost in response to what God has done for us.”
But it is so much more than that. One thing I have learned is how amazingly efficient the organization has become, through trial and error and a desire to do the very best for everyone inside and outside the organization. The connection with PRISM (Pittsburgh Region International Student Ministries), highlighted in today’s Facebook video post (and below) is a perfect example of the things I have been discovering over the last few years.
As many of you may know, The Blessing Board collects donated furniture to give to families in need, but donations often include things they don’t need. What we’ve discovered, through many Days of Blessing, is that desks are not a necessity for families starting over – not as much as a bed to sleep on, a dining room table to share a meal around, or a couch to sit on with family and friends. On a Day of Blessing, as carriers fill the trucks with the basic necessities our families have chosen, soon an over abundance of office items remain.
What do we do with the over abundance? We try to find someone or some place that can use whatever that item is, which leads to another thing I realized in watching the furniture come in and go out, week after week, in both our Oakmont and McKeesport locations. By God’s grace and the generosity of so many people in the Pittsburgh area, a great deal of furniture and other items are not ending up in a landfill somewhere. This is incredible when you think about the hundreds of families we serve. So what happens to the items that our families don’t need?
In the case of the desks and office chairs, they get stored each year until August. At that time, they are re-donated to PRISM for the approximately 12,000 students coming from 25 different countries around the world to study at Pittsburgh’s many universities. PRISM, with the help of area churches, holds collection events to gather items that college students need. All of this happens in preparation for the Garage Giveaway held each year at Bellefield Presbyterian Church. This year it is on Saturday, August 17, from 10:00am to 8:00pm. Between 400 and 500 international students will gather to receive small furniture items, household goods, a warm welcome to Pittsburgh and the love of Christ.
This is just one of the many things I love about being involved with The Blessing Board. One example of our efforts to make sure everything that comes through our doors finds a purpose. And one example of the way we connect with local people and organizations who are caring for local people in incredible ways. Come join the fun! You will love it too!