By: David M. Foster, CFP®, CAP®
Hello, listeners, and welcome to the 17th episode of the Gateway Giving Podcast!
My guest today is Sean Ballard, the operations director for Home Sweet Home, the only furniture bank in the St. Louis region.
For my very first interview in episode 1 of this podcast, I interviewed Mary Kitley of the St. Louis Area Foodbank, and I learned that foodbanks are, essentially, just giant logistics operations. They figure out how to get food to people who either don’t have access to it, or don’t have the resources to afford it on their own.
Well, a furniture bank follows the exact same concept, but the difference here is that there is only one of them in the St. Louis region, and, as evidenced by their rapid growth in just the 6 years since the organization as been in existence, there is an enormous unmet need.
Obviously, all else being equal, having a roof over your head is better than not having a roof over your head, but it’s hard to make a house a home with just a roof and four walls. 90% of the families that Home Sweet Home serves have a household income of less than $18,000 per year. $18,000 per year! If your household income is $18,000 or less, quality furnishings, or any furnishings at all, just aren’t going to be in the budget, so Home Sweet Home has partnered with dozens of organizations from all over the region to connect their donors, people who have furniture they’re no longer using, with people who need it. And, to be clear, they’re not just giving their clients whatever they can find. They are extremely selective on what furniture they will accept, and they have their clients to come to their warehouse to hand pick the items themselves, giving them a sense of pride and dignity in the process.
As always, if you have any questions, requests, or suggestions for people or organizations for me to interview, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Sean!