Hesston College dorm furniture benefits non-profits

Hesston College Facilities staff Tim Goering and Forrest Miller and student Curtis Denlinger of Perkasie, Pa. move dressers from Erb Hall central and west.

As Hesston College students graduated May 8 and headed home for the summer, they began to embody the college’s motto of “Start Here, Go Everywhere.” The following Tuesday, the same motto was applied to dorm furniture as it was loaded into a semi for donation in Waco, Texas.

For 42 years students used the beds, dressers, mirrors, desks and chairs in Erb Hall central and west wings, but as the college prepares to renovate the dorm rooms this summer, it was time for the old furniture to find a new home.

“We explored several options for the furniture from selling it to donating it,” said Hesston College facilities employee and project organizer Tim Goering. “I had a connection with an organization in Waco that had a need, and things fell into place better than we hoped.”

Goering’s cousin Kathy Reid is the executive director for the Family Abuse Center in Waco, one of the organizations to receive the furniture. The center assists victims of domestic violence by sheltering those seeking an escape and providing education and intervention to prevent abuse. On any given night, the shelter houses 40 to 75 residents, predominately women and children.

FAC operates a targeted housing program for shelter residents to eventually move into their own homes. The organization provides basic furniture for furnishing the new residences, so Hesston College’s donation of 152 dressers, more than 100 beds and mirrors, 20 desks and 15 loveseats was welcomed.

“This is the first time we have received a donation of this size,” said Reid. “This is a goldmine for us, especially the dressers. We almost never get dressers. In fact, the quantity is so high, we can’t use it all ourselves, so we are happy to share it with other local organizations.”

When all is said and done, Reid expects 15 non-profit organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, a Veteran’s Assistance program, a homeless shelter for teens and Compassion Ministries – a transitional housing program for homeless families, will receive pieces of furniture.

Even after filling the semi trailer to capacity, the college still has pieces of furniture left. Some of it will be donated to the Habitat for Humanity Re-store in Wichita, and any remaining pieces will be kept in storage until a use can be found.

Despite more than four decades of typical wear and tear, the furniture remains in good condition. Goering expects those on the receiving end will get many more years of use out of it.

“The furniture held up well for us, it just doesn’t fit our needs anymore,” said Goering. “We’re happy it will benefit people who need it.”

As plans to donate the furniture to the Waco organizations began to unfold, one logistical problem remained – how would such a large quantity of furniture travel the almost 500 miles to its new home?

That’s where Rick Caywood of Crawford, Texas, stepped in.

Rick Caywood Ministries is a non-profit trucking ministry started in 1996. Caywood primarily transports food to areas in need, but he also moves resources around the world for other organizations.

Someone in Waco knew of Caywood’s ministry and put Goering in contact with him. Following suit with the rest of the process, everything began to fall into place and schedules lined up to make the transport possible.

“Missions support work is what we do, and it’s up to all of us to encourage one another,” said Caywood. “Hesston’s donation is a mission for these organizations in Waco, so I am happy to be the middle man.”

As facilities staff and student workers spent six hours moving furniture out of three floors on an unseasonably hot May morning, the college community recalled memories in Erb Hall central and west, maybe for the last time before the renovation.

Just over 24 hours later, as rain fell in Waco, the furniture made its way off the truck for a new beginning.

“There were a lot of questions and unknowns as to whether this whole scenario would work out,” said Goering. “I’m not sure how it went so perfectly, but I’m glad it did.”

To see more photos of the loading and unloading process, visit the Hesston College Facebook page.