FurnishAID Success

FurnishAID Success

2018 FurnishAID applications are now closed—please contact info@voa-fla.org for any questions or concerns.

Volunteers of America of Florida successfully executed a hurricane recovery event, FurnishAID, providing furniture to Monroe County residents thanks to furniture donor Caracole and Lexington Home Brands, and to warehouse space provider, SOS Mission in Key West. On April 23rd & 24th over a quarter million dollars worth of brand new Caracole furniture was distributed to hurricane-affected families. The two-day furniture distribution event was a culmination of an eight-month effort facilitated by the generous donation from Caracole, a transportation grant from Ocean Reef Community Foundation, and a myriad of partnerships.

Ongoing resources are available to all FurnishAID applicants. Nonprofits FKOC and Keys Strong, as well as the Monroe County Term Recovery Group, provided resources to FurnishAID. Anyone still in need should visit www.keysstrong.org and/or www.FKOC.org. If/when a second FurnishAID event is developed all applicants will be contacted. Those still needing to apply should sporadically check www.voaflorida.org/FurnishAID.

This first FurnishAID event took a village to accomplish. VOA Florida’s President & CEO, Janet Stringfellow stated: “Our FurnishAID effort would not have been possible without the partnership of all Floridians affected by the hurricane and all of our outstanding partners. Volunteers of America of Florida is honored to serve Floridians in need both through this effort and daily through our statewide programming. Thank you to everyone involved!”

The Volunteers of America of Florida FurnishAID event was initiated after Hurricanes Irma & Maria hit in September 2017. Caracole furniture company connected with both the Volunteers of America Texas and Florida affiliates, 501c3 nonprofit organizations, interested in providing assistance to hurricane victims. In light of the widespread destruction in Monroe County, FL, residents of that county, the hardest hit area in Florida, were decidedly the sole beneficiaries of the FurnishAID event. Due to the high level of destruction throughout the Florida Keys, Volunteers of America of Florida struggled to find warehouse space sufficient for the FurnishAID project until they joined forces with an outstanding local nonprofit partner, the SOS Foundation. The event was solidified by the Ocean Reef Community Foundation’s $20,000 grant to cover the expenses of transporting the three 53’ trailers of beautiful, new Caracole furniture from their warehouse in California to the SOS Foundation Warehouse in Key West, FL.

While transportation and logistics for the event evolved, hundreds of hurricane victims applied for the FurnishAID effort, thanks to various partners promoting the effort and connecting those in need to the FurnishAID application. The hundreds of FurnishAID applicants from Monroe County were then vetted and aligned to donations on a first come first served basis by Volunteers of America of Florida. After an enormous amount of coordination with all applicants and pick up proxies, the following partners joined the FurnishAID effort and volunteered to help unload and distributed the allocated furniture:

  • Volunteers of America of Florida, Key West Program & volunteer Veterans
  • Home Depot, Team Depot volunteers
  • Keys Strong
  • Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC)
  • Monroe County Long Term Recovery Group
  • Monroe County Sherriff’s Office and inmate volunteers
  • Americorps NCCC students/volunteers
  • Compassion for Humanity International

In addition to the aforementioned support, a fourth truck of furniture was donated to the FurnishAID event by Lexington Home Brands. This last-minute donation was made possible by the coordinators at VOA Florida and Caracole, and the partnership with a nonprofit, Bridge to Hope, which provided warehouse space and last-minute logistical solutions in Marathon Key, Florida.

The need in Monroe County following the hurricanes is still staggering. To support long-term hurricane recovery efforts please visit, donate & share this site: https://donate.voa.org/irma


Click on a photo below to enlarge.

Our Gratitude!

It takes a Village to achieve a Mission, especially a large and ongoing Mission. Nothing embodies this saying more than disaster recovery efforts, including our FurnishAID efforts.

It has taken 8 long months for Floridians to even start to recover. Volunteers of America of Florida is simply honored & grateful to be part of this wonderful effort & to live our Mission & ministry of service to serve Floridians in need.

First and foremost, Caracole, the furniture donor. Without your extreme generosity, patience, flexibility, and sense of service, none of this would have ever even been an idea. The quality of the furniture was so outstanding it is unbelievable. Many recipients have sent messages of thanks saying “I could never afford this quality, thank you!” Your assistance And patience waiting for Volunteers if America of Florida to secure donated warehouse space, grant for shipping expenses, vetting of recipients, coordinating cross county shipping logistics… this is more than we could ever ask for. Triche, Scott & Teresa… there are no words to express our gratitude fully. You are a blessing to us all.

Thank you Lexington Homes for adding on a fourth truck to serve those in the upper keys! And for donating the shipping expenses as well as the furniture. For pulling off a delivery win 24 hours notice and bearing with us through logistical complications. Chasity, your patience and can do attitude were tested but you came through! Thank you!

SOS Mission, the guidance, expertise, compassion, and partnership we experienced with you is inexplicable. When there was no hope for donated warehouse space & we thought the hurricane devastated all possible spaces you came to our rescue. Not only did you save Volunteers of America of Florida but the project and everyone that received furniture. Organizations can only dream of partnership with organizations like yours. You not only have made this hurricane recovery effort possible but the work you do to serve those in need on a daily basis is AMAZING. Simply amazing. This project was a small piece of your incredible impact. You are an example to nonprofits everywhere. Tom, Shelby, the Sminks and more.

Ocean Reef Foundation your faith in us, endless support of Monroe County and extreme generosity made the shipment of the furniture from California (3 53’ trucks), volunteer food, water, supplies all possible. There were no funds and little hope until you came into save the day. $20,000 is an awesome amount, but you believed in the Mission and knew Monroe county residents deserved this. Yurianna, your generosity and swift action allowed this project to move forward & thrive! Thank you!!!!

Monroe County, Long-term recovery group, while you were creating your own long-lasting group to serve those in need you were able to connect us to volunteers and extra and continuous support for Monroe County residents that we would never even know about. Your work goes beyond one project or one hurricane. Florida is so lucky to have you and your team. Volunteers of America of Florida is humbled and honored to have been welcomed into your circle and supported restlessly.

Home Depot, you are a partner that never ceases to amazing us!!! The manpower, supplies and support you were able to provide literally pushed this project through. The furniture would still be on the trucks if it weren’t for your help. Jeff, Juan, Jay, Rebecca, Robert… THANK YOU! We pushed the limits and ask for physical support that was unfair but your team came through for your neighbors in Monroe County. Volunteers of America of Florida and our national team is so lucky to have Home Depot on our side, you continue to help advance our Mission like no one else. Location 6313, thank you!!!

Keys Strong, Linda & Zoey. You stayed with us through the heat, exhaustion and moments when we were losing sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Your support literally saved us physically, emotionally and beyond. Thank you!

Monroe County Sheriffs Department, our gratitude isn’t enough. The hours, manpower, prayers, creativity and skills are what got the furniture of the two 53’ trailers on Monday. FurnishAID would not have been completed on time without your help. Physically and literally the furniture would still be on the truck without you.

Those who helped promote (United Way of FL Keys, Red Cross, Bridge to Hope, Key West Citizen, Radio Stations, Long Term Recovery Group, Monroe County Police Department, FEMA representatives and more. You reached those in need. You connected our services to those still suffering. Your voices made this effort heard! Thank you.

Volunteers of America of Florida & Volunteers of America National. Rick, Stephanie, Peter, Uwe, Janet, Stephanie & Dani. You have done your jobs and done it well. You have gone above and beyond. Well done team. You never gave up even when it was an option. You pushed through, found solutions and made this happen. 8/9 months of work and those who need the furniture finally have a little piece of what they need to move on with their lives. You embodied our Mission. Well done teammates, well done. Let’s get ready for our next project and ongoing work serving our fellow Floridians.

Furniture recipients, loved ones, church members. You are the reason we are here. Natural disasters cause more damage and devastation than most people will ever comprehend. We know that this small donation doesn’t begin to solve all your ongoing needs or problems but we hope the furniture helps you make your house a home again, but more so we hope this effort has shown you that you are not alone. Your neighbors care for and love you. May you find peace and continue to heal throughout this journey back to some form of normalcy. God bless you all.

Thank you all for your team work & coming together to serve our communities. We are better together and have proved that through this effort and the wonderful ongoing work of everyone. Once again it takes a Village… and Volunteers of America of Florida is eternally grateful to be a part of yours.