Stephanie Carteiro

Switch Up for a Cause

Stephanie Carteiro
Switch Up for a Cause

THE MISSION Of Cambridge-based non-profit Furnishing hope of Massachusetts (FHMA) is to provide families who are transitioning out of homelessness with much-needed furniture and household goods for THEIR new HOMES.

The brainchild of Cambridge native Suzy Palitz, Furnishing Hope started in a basement where gently used furniture was being donated and collected for homeless families moving into permanent housing. The opportunity to re-purpose items turned out to be a good fit for the community. The organization has grown much since its founding in 2012, recently moving to new office spaces in Harvard Square.  

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Throughout the year, volunteers and staff collect gently used furniture and supplies from donors. Suzy and her new operations manager, Eleanor Sarah Austin, inventory items that will be redistributed. These items then are featured on an online platform where families can select what they need. Smaller items like kitchen tools, dinnerware, and home accessories are divided into kits for families of all sizes. As of August this year, FHMA will have served 252 families – a total of 739 individuals.

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The work doesn't stop there. Furnishing Hope also works with social agencies to deliver the furniture to each family's new home. Their partner Humboldt Storage and Moving help with delivery and set up, while Suzy and her team bring kitchen starter kits, new bed linens, and other home accessories. Occasionally they will even help families organize and settle into their new homes.

Didriks owner, Jonathan Henke, cites this as a reason he loves working with Furnishing Hope: "They provide a missing piece that most furniture banks cannot. They make it easier for families to gain access to what they need."  

Didriks' first Switch Up event was held in 2013 and the partnership with Furnishing Hope began in 2014. Each year Didriks hosts a month-long campaign where customers can swap gently used dinner and kitchenware items for 15% off new and equivalent items. These gently used items then are donated to Furnishing Hope. Over the years through Switch Up Campaigns, Didriks has contributed to 76 of the 216 kitchen starter kits distributed. This year Switch Up will take place from September 10th to October 10th. 

Every year customers get excited about the campaign as it is an opportunity to give back in a unique way. For more information about FHMA visit http://furnishinghopema.org/.