To help us stay positive during these challenging times of mostly bad news, we’re sharing uplifting stories happening right here in Orange County. Be sure to check out the May issue of Orange Coast for many such profiles; in the meantime, we offer a few tidbits to make you happy now. Check our homepage regularly for O.C. Steps Up—anecdotes about your neighbors doing whatever they can to lift the community.
Furnishing Hope is a charity that has furnished more than 700 homes for military veterans and families transitioning out of shelters. The group went from completing one to two homes per week to three to five per week because of the pandemic. “The shelters are very crowded. There may be four families living in an area with a shared kitchen and living room and there’s really nothing you can do to social distance,” says Beth Phillips, Furnishing Hope’s executive director and founder. “For their own safety, they need to get families into apartments where they can shelter in place.”
Phillips’ daughter and Furnishing Hope’s program director, Robyn Phillips, receives an application from a family detailing what its needs are, how many children are in the family, the children’s favorite colors, and more. “Since this quarantine, something new that we started doing is furnishing these homes before they actually move in,” Robyn says. “I’m furnishing it completely so that they can move in with just their clothing. (The application) helps me create a space that they’ll know is just for them and gives it a little special touch for the kids and makes it a little more homey.” It takes Robyn roughly five hours after receiving the application to furnish the home.
Furnishing Hope’s National Pillow Project, which began last year, gave families a way to make an extra $100 a week by sewing 10 pillows. The sewing machines from the project are now being used to create masks. “People got to hearing about (the project) and started dropping off sewing machines, so we had probably about six to eight sewing machines,” Beth says. “I looked at them and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, let’s get these out there and get some masks sewn.’ We had a pickup day and a drop-off and we are having people sewing masks and they’re donating them to any charity that they feel drawn to give to.”
Look for Furnishing Hope’s home store, FH Home, coming to the Tustin Marketplace. You can donate to the charity at furnishinghope.org/ways-to-give.
For more uplifting stories, head to orangecoast.com/ocstepsup.