Orphaned Children in Afghanistan Benefit from Furniture Recycling Program
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 27, 2014) – With several members of the University of Central Missouri Mules football team to help with the heavy lifting, UCM’s housing staff collaborated with two organizations this month to send 1,932 residence hall furniture items to orphanages in Afghanistan and to others in need.
This was the sixth consecutive year UCM has worked with the Institution Recycling Network in Concord, N.H., to help find a new use for residence hall furniture that is being updated on campus. IRN representative Stacey Clark said the university has become an exceptional partner, now exceeding more than one million pounds of furniture sent to help individuals in need, a milestone reached in 2013.
“We take furnishings from institutions of higher learning, colleges, universities, what have you, and send them overseas for reuse purposes. About 85 percent of what comes from the university will go overseas and the rest stays in the United States,” she said.
Clark pointed out the furniture is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis to a number of charities that work with individuals in need worldwide. As part of this effort, Ayman Aburahma, head of the emergency response team for Life Relief and Development, headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, is working closely with IRN to provide furniture items to help orphans in Afghanistan. Some furniture also is going to a Native American reservation in New Mexico. Life for Relief and Development is also working in partnership with the Mohammed Bid Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian Charity based in the United Arab Emirates. This organization that promotes charity and humanitarian works to help underprivileged individuals, including orphaned children inside and outside the UAE.
While working with representatives of IRN and UCM the week of May 19-23, Aburahma unrolled a large vinyl sign that he planned to have members of the Mules football team sign, and will be displayed at an orphanage that receives the shipment of furniture from Central Missouri. He praised the great support he received from the university’s housing staff, and was particularly excited about the students’ involvement.
“I love the good spirit they have,” Aburahma said about the Mules’ team members who showed up for a day of loading desks, chairs beds, and dressers on trucks outside of South Yeater Hall. “When they find out the furniture is going to orphanages, you see them doing it (helping) from their hearts. They love what they do and I appreciate that.”
In addition to working with institutions such as UCM, Aburahma said the United States Army also will get involved in providing a secure convoy for containers. Army troops will follow the furniture caravan to ensure it safely arrives at its destination. Orphanages that will utilize these items serve children ranging from newborns to
According to Brenda Moeder, director of housing operations and facilities, the furniture provided to charities is finishing out a furniture replacement initiative this spring that includes South Yeater, South Todd, and Diemer residence halls, as well as a wing of the Fraternity Complex. She said members of the Mules football team and other student workers were recruited to assist in the replacement project by Facilities, Planning and Operations. FPO set-up crews have been instrumental in working with the university and charity organizations in previous years to help make the transfer of furniture a smooth process, while also giving students an opportunity to provide a valuable service to others in need. Moeder expects students also will get involved in additional furniture replacement and donation efforts in the next few months.
“We also will be replacing lounge furniture this summer in Ellis Hall, and in lounges in South Yeater at UCC (University Conference Center),” Moeder said. “So we will be partnering with IRN again for another load-out.”