A newly established community nonprofit aims to restore dignity in the lives of people who experienced life-altering changes by providing gently used furniture and home goods toward a fresh start.
DIG Furniture Bank operates on a referral-only basis in Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties. Partner agencies direct their own clients to DIG, allowing them to request items like couches, kitchen tables, small appliances and bedding. The items are sorted, packed and delivered by volunteers.
Emily Mrusko, who operates DIG from her Lewisburg-area home, said the organization she founded in March during the pandemic has already made 14 deliveries.
“I had this dream for years and years,” said Mrusko, assistant director of the Union-Snyder Community Action Agency. “The biggest cornerstone of what I want to do with this project is instill dignity. I think when people are living in poverty and are finding themselves needing to start over, it’s easy to not feel like you’re worth a whole lot.”
DIG is a registered 501c3 nonprofit. It collects gently used goods from local sources, directing unwanted items to people in need. Cash donations are also solicited as DIG seeks to purchase and distribute brand new mattresses rather than used ones. Information about providing or receiving donations as well as volunteer opportunities and more is available at www.digfb.org.
The nonprofit has a board of directors and two volunteers. Partner agencies include the Community Action Agency, where Mrusko works, as well as Transitions, SUMMIT Early Learning, Northumberland County Behavioral Health, Central Susquehanna Opportunities, Valley churches, CommUnity Zone’s Getting Ahead in the Valley, Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way and Union County Probation.
According to Mrusko, DIG’s clients could include people rising out of homelessness, domestic violence victims moving into their own homes, or people newly released from incarceration looking for a clean start.
Acquiring housing can be challenging enough, Mrusko said. DIG can provide the basics to fill an empty space.
Bernadette Harris and her 6-year-old son, Royale, moved from New York to the Lewisburg area with next to nothing. She said she had no furniture and no money. Harris shared her story at a local agency and someone directed her to DIG.
Harris called what happened next a blessing. DIG provided a couch, television stand, bookshelf, dishes, a toaster, dining ware, tables and chairs. She anticipates receiving beds for herself and her son.
“We’d still be sleeping on blowup beds. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get anything,” Harris said. “It feels like home now. This is mine, I’m home. It was meant to be. It makes me feel really good.”
“My son has a table to do his (school) work. He can eat at a table. We were eating on the floor,” she said.
Harris said she’s directed others living in her affordable housing complex to look into DIG. She said she hopes one day to volunteer with DIG and help others who were in similar situations.
Zachary Kline serves on DIG’s board of directors. He works a seasonal job and figured volunteering was a good use of his free time. Plus, he inherited a pickup truck — a valuable commodity for DIG volunteers.
“I wouldn’t wish moving on my worst enemy but now I’m doing it as a volunteer. It’s definitely rewarding,” Kline said. “If you can impact and change one life and help benefit someone for their future, it’s all worthwhile.”
To learn more about DIG Furniture Bank and how to donate, volunteer or support the agency another way, contact Mrusko at firstname.lastname@example.org or 570-658- 9880. DIG is on social media at www.facebook.com/digfurniturebank and www.instagram.com/digfurniturebank. The agency’s website is www.digfb.org.