Paying it Forward

By Lauren Hollon Sturdy
Buckner International

BEAUMONT— When staff at Buckner Children’s Village decided an update to their emergency shelter’s furniture was long-overdue, members of the Beaumont community wasted no time in helping Buckner achieve its goal.

The original bedroom furniture came to Beaumont from the Dallas Children’s Home nearly 20 years earlier and has served hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of children, said Rhonda O’Neill, development officer for Buckner Foundation in Beaumont.

The Buckner Auxiliary Board along with the Stedman Foundation, Keller Williams Red Day friends, Chili’s in Beaumont, Women of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and individual donors provided the funds to order new bedroom furniture.

Hadley Cohen, owner of Hadley’s Furniture, spent three hours with Buckner staff helping them work within their budget to find solid, durable bedroom furniture. After several phone calls to manufacturers, he helped staff purchase 17 beds, along with mattresses and cute, age-appropriate chairs.

“Hadley and his wife Melinda are committed to making life better for the children at Buckner,” O’Neill said. “They partner with us in the Chevron Phillips Charity Golf Tournament each year, and with Keller Williams RED Day. They are always quick to offer us discounted prices when furniture must be replaced.”

Laura May, administrator of Buckner Children and Family Services in Beaumont, said the children love how homey the new bedroom sets are. They have storage space in drawers near the floor and bookcase headboards where the children can put their stuffed animals or family photos.

“We wanted them to feel like they had a special place, a space that’s theirs,” May said.

May knew the old bedroom sets would be put to good use through Buckner Border Ministries in the Rio Grande Valley. But she needed a way to store and transport them. That’s where PODS came in.

“When we got the call we just jumped on the chance to help,” said Donna Wade, owner of the Beaumont PODS franchise. “I called [the PODS corporate office] and they said, ‘Sure, let’s give the best discount we can.’”

PODS Beaumont was able to provide Buckner Children’s Village with storage and transportation for a nominal charge to cover freight costs. They delivered 21 wood frame twin beds, one wrought iron day bed, 20 dressers, three desks and 17 twin mattresses to Buckner Border Ministries in July.

Furniture is a huge need in the Rio Grande Valley, where many families live in cobbled-together shanties, sleeping on the floor or in their car because they have no beds. Guillermina Aguilar, humanitarian aid coordinator for Buckner Border Ministries, said the donated furniture went fast.

“They were very good beds, very sturdy,” she said. “The families were excited to get them. They told me, ‘This is awesome.’”

“When I first received the beds, I had some volunteers from a local church youth group there sorting shoes,” Aguilar said. “The pastor there with them said, ‘Four of these boys sleep on the floor at home – are you able to give them a bed?’ I said, ‘Of course!’ It was the least I could do, because they spend so much time volunteering and helping with our ministry. Furniture is a big need; we’re very grateful and we appreciate it.”

For more information about Buckner ministries in Beaumont, click here. Learn about Buckner ministries in the Rio Grande Valley here.

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