Compassion Coalition’s Furniture Ministry Closing

Since the beginning of Compassion Coalition in 2000, we have been blessed to feel the hand of God guiding us. As doors have opened and others have closed, we have seen God working and shaping this ministry.  Even as we feel led by God, change is difficult.

The Furniture Ministry has been very dear to our hearts and was our first church collaboration.

Veta Sprinkle, Betsy Frazier, and Marty Pitkanen, early visionaries of Compassion Coalition, organized the Furniture Ministry in response to a need in the comm

unity that was not being met.  Often individuals in difficult circumstances are unable to afford furniture. And although there are many places to get used furniture, these individuals—often elderly, single mothers, and those with disabilities–have no way to pick up large items and take them to their apartments. Seeing this need in the community, Compassion Coalition decided to gather a coalition of churches to provide teams to pick up donated, gently used furniture and deliver it free of charge to those in need. Mrs. Charlotte Mack, a Hurricane Katrina survivor, took over the ministry in 2006. Over the years, Charlotte has poured her heart into the ministry and earned a reputation as both a tough and tender leader. Charlotte’s mantra from day 1 was “No junk for Jesus.” She was adamant that the Furniture Ministry would only deliver furniture that was clean and in good repair, as is fitting of gifts given in the name of Jesus.

Since 2005, 3,506 families received furniture through a collaboration of 25 church teams made up of many volunteers. The Furniture Ministry has also served as a Restorative Justice site where first-time, non-violent juvenile offenders complete their community service requirements alongside believers, helping load and deliver furniture. Restorative Justice is a collaborative program with the Knox County District Attorney, Juvenile Court, and Compassion Coalition.
Over the years, the Furniture Ministry has been gifted with shared warehouse space, most recently at the KARM Thrift Store on Hall of Fame Drive. Due to KARM’s expanding needs, that space is no longer available to us. As a result, Compassion Coalition is no longer coordinating a furniture ministry. It is our hope and prayer to pass on the process we developed over the past 13 years, including lessons learned, to another ministry or group of churches who may want to meet this vital need in our community.