This time of year routinely can be slow for Eric Marx and his lawn and landscaping company.
Then he saw last weekend that Douglas County United Way and AmeriCorps members needed help collecting donated furniture for a Douglas County family of 11 that lost their home west of Lawrence in a Dec. 30 fire.
“I always told myself I would volunteer in the wintertime,” said Marx, who owns Brayden’s Lawn and Landscape.
He used his truck and trailer and helped collect furniture, beds and dressers area residents had donated after the United Way put out a call for donations. The family of Roger and Camay Guillory, who didn’t have insurance, had all their belongings also destroyed in the fire. Community members have donated hundreds of household items over the last week for the family as they were searching for a new home.
Lori Johns, director of the United Way Roger Hill Volunteer Center, said the AmeriCorps members were thankful for the extra muscle on Wednesday as they had received calls from nearly 100 people who had furniture they could pick up. They couldn’t even get all the way through the list, but the furniture they did collect will be stored at a warehouse downtown. Anything the family doesn’t use will be given to other area organizations that can use it.
Johns said she had taken pillows and other items to Penn House and the Social Service League Thrift Store.
Once they get settled, the Guillory family will benefit from all of the housewares, linens, towels, small appliances and toys people donated.
“It just goes to show how caring people are when something happens,” Johns said. “And everybody wants to help. They should all know that it’s all going to go to somebody who needs it.”
Craig Foos, an owner of Starving Artists Moving, said a crew spent its day collection donations across town.
“Our entire crew is willing to help out no matter what the scenario is,” he said. “It means more to us to get in to help people locally.”
Guillory’s employer, ICL Performance Products, has also been storing items for the family, organizers have said.