After buying our 1st family home I ended up with some extra appliances and a few large furniture items I needed to get rid of. Without much thought I listed them on Craigslist at a very low price and since I had a truck and trailer I offered to deliver them for free hoping to expedite the process of getting them out of my garage and helping someone out at the same time.
They were all spoken for quickly and over the next couple of days I delivered them to their new homes. I feel like the planets aligned putting me in contact with the 5 perfect people that needed them most and it that opened my eyes to a HUGE need for charity with these types of things.
The 1st person was an elderly woman who had been without a stove for a few months. Unable to afford a new one and not knowing how to get a used one to her house, she had just gone without. Her grand daughter found my add was so happy I could deliver it for her and even more pleased I would help her even further and dispose of the old one. After I brought it over and set it up for her, she was over joyed and burst into tears hugging me...I was kind of in shock and thought to myself " I didn't really do that much"
Another item was a sectional couch that went to a single mother with 5 children. She had diabetes and could not walk very well. Her family had been in need of a new couch for a very long time but again, being on a fixed income she could not afford a new one and had no means to buy a used one and get it to her home much less moved inside. After we brought it to her and put it in her living room the kids were ecstatic. Jumping all over it and so full of excitement it really made me feel good to help out. She was so grateful, offered me very kind words, sincere thanks and then gave me more money than I had asked for insisting that I take it, to buy my son and I lunch or something. My heart bursted I left walking on clouds, no one had ever been so thankful for anything I had ever done for them, or made me feel as appreciated as she made me feel that day.
Then later that very day I brought some folks a bunk bed for their kids and a queen bedroom set for them . By what now seems like predetermined destiny,they happened to be a family of 4 who had recently lost everything in a house fire. They were ALL sleeping on the floor of an apartment that they had recently moved into!!! To come across a family in such dire straights and having gone through what these folks did and then being able to offer some very real help made me feel incredibly lucky and filled my heart with the pride of accomplishment from helping others like I had never felt before.
Lastly I had my older good working washer and dryer set which I ended up taking to a family who had been without for way to long. Grandma,Mom and Dad, and 3 kids all under one roof. Anyone with a family who has gone any amount of time without a washer or dryer knows how fast laundry stacks up and they were stacked to the max! They were again, what seemed to me at the time, overly grateful towards me and it really made an impression on me.
The amount of gratitude and thankfulness people expressed towards me in that short week was more than I had ever received before in my entire life and it opened my eyes to the huge need people have to acquire and dispose of these house hold items that are large, difficult to move. Not only did I discover the need for help people have in regards to acquiring these items but I also discovered the difficulty many people have getting rid of these items as well. I have learned that in most cases the trash man wont take them, the big charities are usually booked for weeks ahead of time and won't come inside your house to remove items. A lot of times people have not had any luck trying to sell things themselves or they are too apprehensive to even deal with the whole Craigslist / internet thing in the 1st place. Often people are pressed for time to get rid of these things, putting them in a stressful spot and they are thinking that throwing away perfectly good stuff might be their only option.
So I started seeking these items out and finding new homes for them, offering to haul them away for free and deliver them to people in need.
Well it has snowballed into more than I could have ever imagined and has become one of the greatest things I have done in the service of others and has really opened my heart to the need some people have for help in this area.
After of working my regular 50 hr/wk full time job as well as doing this on the side, putting in 14 - 16 hour days 7 days a week for over a year, my wife (the real brains of the operation) had the idea to start a local charity, get a business license, and apply for tax exempt status from the IRS and create a non-profit company. Providing me with the opportunity to quit my desk job, spend time with my family, bring my son along with me to work and most importantly be of service to others at the same time. Which for me is like a dream come true! Who wouldn't want to work for themselves, spend the days with their children, all while helping those in need? Sometimes I still feel like this cant be happening and can not understand how I am so blessed.
Well....... that is the story of how I got to where I am now and how Armchair Samaritan got its start. If you actually read this far Id like to take the time to thank you from the bottom of my heart and wish you the best in all your life's endeavors.
Douglas Evans -Armchair Samaritan