Ministry of Concern seeks truck for furniture delivery program
GOMOC delivers about 700 couches, refrigerators, other items a year
ALBION — A popular local program that connects used donated furniture and appliances with needy recipients has come to a standstill.
The Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern has been using a 2004 GMC Savana van. The vehicle has about 160,000 miles and needs another engine, and other costly repairs totaling $8,000.
“It’s been in deteriorating mechanical health,” said Laverne Bates, executive director for the Ministry of Concern, which is known as ‘The Agency of Last Resort.”
The Ministry of Concern would prefer to buy a used vehicle for about $10,000. That could get a delivery truck with about 100,000 miles.
The Ministry of Concern doesn’t have the money for either repairs or another vehicle. Donations from the community will be needed to get the furniture program back on the road.
The delivery vehicle has been sidelined for three weeks now. Thursday morning two people called to donate items. There are about 100 people on a waiting list for furniture and appliances – refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers.
“These are costly items that can be nearly impossible for poor and working poor families to afford new and even harder to locate in second-hand stores,” Bates said.
The furniture program is the costliest effort by the Ministry of Concern. It accounts for about $50,000 of the agency’s annual budget of about $180,000. Two part-time employees run the furniture program, which on average makes deliveries to 23 families each month or nearly 300 a year.
Bates and Nyla Gaylord, GOMOC’s grant writer, say there is a rising number of working poor in the community who can use the furniture and appliances that are given by others.
The Ministry of Concern provides the important service of picking up the items and matching them to a different owner. GOMOC also has a storage area on Platt Street for many of the items.
Bates said the program often comes through with dressers and beds for families, including those who have suffered fires, flooding and infestations. Sometimes families are in transition due to domestic violence, job loss or other family issues, he said.
Bates was happy this morning when a check for $100, the first donation towards the van, arrived in the mail.
Donors should send checks marked “Furniture Truck” to GOMOC, 121 N. Main St., Albion, NY 14411. For more information on GOMOC, visit www.ministryofconcern.com, or call the agency at (585) 589-9210.