Furniture Bank and Inmates making Dressers

August 31, 2011
The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio was growing weary of never having enough dressers for the nearly 4,000 families per year they provided free furniture to. So in June 2010, several staff members and volunteers set out to expand the kitchen table building process to include 4-drawer dressers. After several prototype iterations, the best design was adopted and “production” began. “Production” in this case means crews of volunteers using carefully designed assembly jigs. After several successful months and ramp-up to about 18 dressers a week, a partnership was developed with Marion Correctional Institute in Marion, Ohio, for the inmates to build dressers also. The “production” assembly jigs were duplicated, and a select group of interested and capable inmates began making dressers 3 days a week. In just a few short weeks, they have ramped up to producing 50 dressers per week!

 

 
Furniture Bank volunteers building a dresser.         Dressers produced at Marion Correctional.

In 2010, FBCO received 2,711 dressers in donation from residents and institutions, but they served 3,565 families in need. So, families could only receive 1, and sometimes not even 1. With the help of volunteers in their own woodshop and the inmates at Marion Correctional, FBCO will add about 1,600 dressers to incoming donations in 2011. In 2012, the number of dressers produced by inmates is projected to be 2,500, and another 1,000 will be built by furniture bank volunteers. In all, FBCO expects to have more than 6,000 dressers to serve a projected 4,600 families. This is definitely better than 2010, but more will still be needed. Stay tuned for future updates!