Donate Furnishings You’d be Proud to Give to a Neighbor

In 2017, generous donations of quality furnishings helped 626 families start over.

Hundreds of couches and dressers and dining tables and chairs were delivered to The Green Chair Project through our Free Essential Pickup Service.

We don’t subscribe to the notion that “something is better than nothing,” so our movers don’t pickup items with tears, smoke or pet odors, stains or structural damage. 

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At Green Chair, we want to provide attractive furnishings presented in a way that demonstrates our respect for those we serve.

Our litmus test is pretty simple:  donated furnishings are items you’d be proud to give to a neighbor – because the veteran, the victim of domestic violence and the homeless family that found affordable housing are just neighbors you haven’t met.

Thank you for making new beginnings possible with your gifts to Green Chair. Click here for information on what and how to donate.

Local Chefs Team Up to Make Sweet Dreams Possible

Guest blog by Mary-Catherine Freeman

December 3rd was the evening of our Savor Sweeter Dreams event, and one of the first nights of the holiday season that truly felt like winter. With a crisp chill in the air, people from across Wake County bundled up and made their way to Crawford & Son Restaurant to support and celebrate our Sweeter Dreams program with an evening full of delicious food and rich conversation.

Upon entering the restaurant, attendees were ushered into the warm and intimate gathering by Executive Director Jackie Craig and future Green Chair Project board chair, Phil Kowalczyk.

The meal was prepared by three of the Triangle’s most esteemed chefs including Ashley Christensen, Scott Crawford, and Matt Kelly.

Not only did all three of these renowned chefs donate their time, energy, and effort to creating an evening no one will soon forget, but the entire waitstaff and kitchen crew volunteered to come in on their day off free-of-charge to make sure the event was seamlessly executed.

The goal of the Sweeter Dreams program is to provide children across Wake County with a bed of their own. School social workers identify children who are without beds during the academic year and refer them to The Green Chair Project’s quarterly bed distribution.  While many of us often take a bed and a restful night of sleep for granted, it is far from guaranteed for these children who are instead crammed into beds with other family members or forced to sleep on the floor.  

How did this event come to be?

Four years ago, Phil and his wife Gretchen learned about our Sweeter Dreams program after donating some furniture to The Green Chair Project.  Upon finding that approximately 5,000 children in Wake County do not have a bed of their own to sleep in, the Kowalczyks rallied behind our cause and committed themselves to doing whatever they possibly could to help.

The Kowalczyks came up with a plan of action that was three-fold: to build community, create a special, intimate gathering, and, most importantly, “to get kids off the floor.” As Phil says: “local needs, local friends, local chef, and doing good in a fun and elegant way that inspires us to do more.” Phil reached out to Scott Crawford to put together a multi-course dinner, and asked Wine Authorities to come up with wine pairings. While only five couples attended that first Savor Sweeter Dreams dinner, the evening netted $4,750–enough to fund 32 beds, surpassing their original goal of 20.

Fast forward three years later to 2017, and you will find that our Savor Sweeter Dreams dinner has grown significantly. After years of involvement, Crawford graciously offered to put a new twist on the event by hosting it at his restaurant. This also allowed us to expand the event by increasing the number of attendees to 60. Each ticket was $250, which is the exact amount that it costs to provide a child with a new bed, including a twin mattress, boxspring, bed frame, and a set of bedding. Several attendees chose to pay an extra $250 to attend the before-dinner cocktail hour and provide not one, but two children with beds.

“In the days leading up to the event, while tickets were selling out, requests for beds were flooding in from our partner social workers connected with Wake County School students, said Craig. “Miraculously, the funds from the total ticket sales amounted to the exact amount necessary to provide a fully equipped bed for each child in need this holiday season.”

“This event exemplifies the impact that we can have when we gather together as a community to put ideas into action. It inspires us to dream bigger and to continue fighting for the day when every child in Wake County will have a bed of their own,” Craig said. 

On Saturday, Dec. 10, beds were delivered to 78 children across Wake County. Because of all the support and contributions from the Savor Sweeter Dreams dinner, each of these children now has a place to rest their head, they have a space to call their own and they have something that actually belongs to them. When you donate to the Sweeter Dreams Program, you are giving a child far more than a piece of furniture; you are giving them dignity and a chance to feel safe, taken care of, and comforted.

“Every child has the right to a bed. Every child should be able to lay their head down on their very own pillow at the end of the day and not have to worry about waking up cold in the middle of the night or being too tired at school the next day.

Craig continued: “It’s so easy to take these basic needs for granted, but the reality is that there are thousands of children across Wake County who will not have a bed to sleep in tonight, which means that we still have a lot of work to do.”

To learn more or support us in our mission to ensure that every child in Wake County has their own bed to sleep in, please click here.

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This guest blog was written by The Green Chair Project volunteer Mary-Catherine Freeman. A professional photographer, she donated her services to take photos of the Savor Sweeter Dreams event. 

Adina’s Story of Recovery, Strength and Renewal

The Green Chair Project is more than a store with a showroom where families recovering from homelessness, crisis or disaster can shop for essential furnishings. We’re a story–a collection of stories of hope, strength and new beginnings.  

The men, women and families who walk through our doors are starting over. Many have overcome homelessness, abuse or addiction. Some are finally setting out on their own after transitioning out of foster care or living in group homes. They are putting their lives–and homes–back together.

When you donate to The Green Chair project–financial resources or furniture donations–you are changing lives. Here is Adina’s story of just one of the many lives we are changing thanks to the support of our community and the generosity of our donors.

Journey to Recovery

Adina’s smile says it all: I got this now. Behind this confident smile is a story of resilience. Adina had a tough childhood and turned to drugs but knew this was not the path for her.

With the support of her case manager at North Carolina Recovery, this single mother overcame many obstacles, and is now getting a brand new start in life. But she is not alone: she has the support of her case manager with North Carolina Recovery and a welcoming staff and volunteers at The Green Chair Project.

When Adina came to The Green Chair, she had a bed, but little else. She had never before been able to make her own choices.

As she shopped our furniture showroom, one thing was clear: she loved pink! Adina and daughter had fun selecting bedding and other items they could find that were pink–including a pink broom!

For the nominal fee of $100, Adina was able to select the essentials for her new home, including a love seat, coffee table, nightstand, microwave, rug, lamp, dishes, pots and pans, and linens. The small investment she made bought more than home furnishings; it provided dignity and choice. The welcoming staff and volunteers at The Green Chair made Adina feel empowered, respected and loved.

Adina has big dreams; she hopes one day to have her own organization to teach culinary skills and provide jobs for others.

She is an inspiration to others, showing strength and resilience on her road to recovery.

Your donations–both furnishings and financial–enable The Green Chair to support mothers like Adina. Consider supporting our Annual Fund so we can help more clients like Adina say “I got this.”

Service After the Military: Vet Helps Vet at The Green Chair Project

When John Dunlap heard a Navy veteran was coming to The Green Chair Project, he didn’t hesitate to ask to help out. As logistics coordinator, John usually works behind the scenes, keeping our warehouse and showroom well-stocked and in order. But this time he wanted to work directly with the client and serve a fellow veteran transitioning to a new home.

John Dunlap, Green Chair Project logistics coordinator and Navy vet

William, client and Navy vet, trying out his new couch

When John met William, a veteran who was about to select furnishings for his new apartment, they formed an immediate connection, having both served in the U.S. Navy.  “It’s like I’m back on the battlefield, like I’m helping a brother,” said John.

“No matter when you serve, the fact that you served connects you.”

John could relate to the transition William was going through. When John first walked through our doors in 2013, he was getting help after three and a half years in the Navy, and nine years in the Army National Guard. When his military service ended, Passage Home helped him make the transition to civilian life. Through Passage Home, he was connected to The Green Chair Project. He started working here in April 2017.

When William recently browsed our showroom floor, John assisted as he selected a couch, chair, kitchen table and other essentials for his new apartment. He had one goal in mind: he wanted everything to be in order for his son’s homecoming. John said he could sense the pride William had, making his own choices, and knowing he could provide a homey and comfortable environment for his son.

Two vets connected through The Green Chair Project–both transitioning from the military at different times, but forming a bond as one vet helped another get a new start in life.

John has kept in touch with William since he set up his new apartment, and even stopped by to see how all the new furnishings looked. John said William was happy with everything he selected, and ready for his son to return home.

“We talked like shipmates,” said John. “I always want to help out a fellow vet.”

Venezuelan Family Gets New Start; Andres is Amazed at Kindness of Strangers

Andres loves his new chair from The Green Chair Project

“We have never received such kindness,” said Andres, a father who was recently able to get his family out of Venezuela and come to the U.S. There, he had a job and a house. With a college education and a career, he could provide for his family.

Here in North Carolina, he has a new life. Thanks to Green Chair volunteer Susan Ricks, and White Memorial Presbyterian Church, Andres and his wife were able to bring their family here to shop for essential furnishings.

When Susan visited their apartment, she said, “All they had was two blow-up mattresses. Not a chair or a table. Nothing.” Now, thanks to our Sweeter Dreams bed program, both boys have a new bed to sleep in. And the family has a chair and couch for resting, and a table for sharing a meal.

“I have no words of thanks for this humble gift for my family,” said Andres.

Andres and his wife were so grateful, in fact, that he returned to The Green Chair and prepared a meal for the staff.

“Now we have the satisfaction of placing ourselves as those who give,” he said.

Hidden Message Reveals Family History of Donated Dresser

Every piece of furniture donated has a story. Imagine our surprise when we found a hidden message under the drawer of this hand-made dresser!

Our logistics coordinator John Dunlap was refurbishing this dresser and discovered the hand-written message, explaining that this chest was made by Richard Morse Chapin, 1928-2016. It says, “Richard was a furniture designer who built this chest for his son’s clothes. He was a kind and gentle man.” This brought tears to our eyes!

We wanted to know who Richard Chapin was, so we did a little research. Richard was a furniture designer in New York in the 1950’s then opened his own firm, Chapin Designs, in Charlotte in 1966. He helped found the American Society of Furniture Designers and served as president in 1985-86. He spent three years in the Navy, was passionate about sailing and was an accomplished musician. And he built this beautiful chest!

John sanded the drawers, top and side and brought it back to life so someone else can use it for another 50 years. He even added his own message for the new owner. Just last week, this dresser was chosen from our showroom and went home with someone from our partner SouthLight Healthcare who is getting a new start a new life.

The Green Chair Project: more than a store–a story. To Richard’s family for giving us this gift, and to David Chapin who wrote this message, thank you. When you donate something with meaning to The Green Chair Project, you know it’s going to a good home.