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Port Chester Man Promotes Furniture Donation Drive

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Dave Vitullo, 43, of Port Chester, has handled nearly all of the 22,000 pieces of furniture the Furniture Sharehouse has donated twice. Once while bringing donations into the warehouse near the Westchester County Airport, and again while delivering items to clients.

Participating in the Sharehouse’s Nov. 13 furniture drive will save Vitullo “a lot of time and energy,” and provide the non-profit with the inventory it needs to serve families who were displaced by Tropical Storm Irene this August.

“These people having nothing. A lot of times when we walk in they are sleeping on the floor, waiting for us to come. So it’s more than helpful,” said Vitullo. “They can’t afford to go to Salvation Army or a place like it."

The Hispanic Resource Association has referred approximately 20 to 25 families to the Furniture Sharehouse after Irene wiped away their homes. Kate Bialo, the executive director of Furniture Sharehouse, said the demand from current clients has generated a six-week waiting list. Bialo, 56 of Larchmont, hopes the donation drive will help the Furniture Sharehouse serve flooding victims quicker and inflate its inventory.

“Fitting in the flood victims is really putting a lot of strain on the inventory. It makes me nervous when we have things this thin in our warehouse,” said Bialo, who started the sharehouse in April 2011. “If it’s something we can take, they can load up the car and come and drop it off. We will help unload it and give them a donation recite.”

The Woman’s Club of White Plains and Our Lady of Sorrow Parish will help run the drive from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 13.

The Furniture Sharehouse tries to match every client with “the basics,” including a bed, mattress, kitchen table and chairs, a coffee table, and end table, a dresser, a night stand, a desk, a rug, and a couple of lamps.

“We just never have enough beds,” said Bialo. “Most people don’t think we take used mattresses, but we do because families will sleep on a used mattress rather than sleep on the floor.”

Bialo estimates that her clients, who are leaving shelters, dealing with massive bed bug damage, working through natural disasters, or just struggling, would have to pay at least $1,000 for the furnishings that the Furniture Warehouse lets them pick out.

The Furniture Sharehouse asks those who wish to donate to read their guidelines before dropping donations off.

Have you ever donated to the Furniture Sharehouse? Join the conversation below.

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