AFJ Furniture Donation: A Gift that Keeps On Giving

Avenues for Justice

How a Donation Translated into a Gift that Keeps Giving

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Mercedes and her younger son, Barack, embrace after the furniture donation arrived at their apartment.

Mercedes painted the watercolor in the background using Barack's school supplies.

The story that keeps on giving starts with a Judge and his wife deciding to downsize and sell their Upper West Side apartment in New York.  Their home quickly sold, but due to complications related to COVID-19, it was difficult to move their furniture to where they were relocating to.

 

So they decided to give it away.

 

They looked into several NYC-based nonprofits, but soon found that it was not as easy as they thought to donate their furniture. 

 

So they turned to their real estate broker, Jane. Jane informed them that she was a board member at Avenues for Justice (AFJ) and would check with AFJ’s COO, Liz.  As a single parent, Liz knew the hardships many families face and with the close connections AFJ staff keep with their youth, identified a family who could benefit from the furniture donation. 

 

That was Mercedes’ family.  Mercedes has two sons. She graduated from the NYC Police Academy and was on the Public School Security Task Force until an accident left her with chronic pain and unemployed. She met the AFJ staff at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse when her older son, Milagro, just 13 at the time and shaken by family losses and transitions, had to appear in court.

 

“Avenues for Justice worked with my son and me to help us understand what we were each going through,” Mercedes said.   

 

AFJ board member Jane paid a grassroots moving company to transport the furniture to Mercedes’ and her family. 

 

The furniture was delivered this Tuesday, and the family gained new hope.  Mercedes’ seven-year-old son, Barack, had organized his clothes into boxes because his dresser drawers were broken. Not only does he have a new dresser, a new bed, a new living room set, but more importantly, he’s learned that there are generous people who care about the well-being of others.

 

As for her old furniture, Mercedes contacted her neighbors the same day the new furniture arrived. She found many people who needed the items and was pleased that she was now also in the position to help others. 

 

So the gift that began keeps on giving.

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