Coming to the table to build tables

Volunteers assemble furniture for Sulzbacher Village residents

Members of JAX Chamber volunteered to help put together the Ikea furniture. Back: Daniel Davis, president and CEO; Ashlea Justice; Becky Arnold; Clayton Levins; Kristina Aranilla; Tina Wirth; David Johnson; Rachel Harris; Lyndsay Rossman; Monisa Thompson; Deana Harding; Tien Flowe; Matt Galnor, vice president, public affairs; Shirley Moore; Dawn Adams; Amanda Kendrick, Ikea business planner; Emily Knight-Smith, Sulzbacher volunteer coordinator; and Gene Funkhouser.

Members of JAX Chamber volunteered to help put together the Ikea furniture. Back: Daniel Davis, president and CEO; Ashlea Justice; Becky Arnold; Clayton Levins; Kristina Aranilla; Tina Wirth; David Johnson; Rachel Harris; Lyndsay Rossman; Monisa Thompson; Deana Harding; Tien Flowe; Matt Galnor, vice president, public affairs; Shirley Moore; Dawn Adams; Amanda Kendrick, Ikea business planner; Emily Knight-Smith, Sulzbacher volunteer coordinator; and Gene Funkhouser.

The only thing better than watching volunteers assemble new IKEA furniture for Sulzbacher Village, a new community for women and families, will be to watch the faces of the residents when they finally see their new digs, said Sulzbacher President and CEO Cindy Funkhouser.

Thanks to a partnership with IKEA-Jacksonville and a $280,000 grant from the Jim Moran Foundation, volunteers from various businesses and service organizations gathered over four days to assemble IKEA furniture for Sulzbacher Village residents, April 24-27.

With each day highlighting various organizations – Sports Volunteer Day, Local Heroes Day, Faith Day, and Community Leaders Day – Sulzbacher benefited from the efforts of volunteers from the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Availity, Allstate Insurance, Southeast Toyota, Wolfson Children’s Hospital, Bank of America, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, the American Legion Riders Post 88, the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Mayo Clinic, McGuireWoods Law Firm, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the Beach Church and Church of Eleven22.

“Over the last week we’ve had more than 425 volunteers coming to the Village,” Funkhouser said. “For all these people to come to the table literally and put the tables together, is wonderful. I can’t wait for the ribbon-cutting, and I hope all these volunteers can return and see our folks come in for the first time. Normally when we move people out they have nothing, and we have to beg, borrow, or steal to get furniture donated. For our people to walk in and see their new homes fully furnished with new IKEA furniture is really going to make this whole thing worthwhile. I can’t wait for that day.”

Kristina Aranilla, Leah Goodwyne, David Johnson and Rachel Harris

Kristina Aranilla, Leah Goodwyne, David Johnson and Rachel Harris

The construction of Sulzbacher Village, located on Springfield Boulevard near 44th Street and Pearl Street, will enable the nonprofit for the first time to provide women, families, and children with affordable long-term housing as well as the services they need to build a new life. In addition to housing, residents will receive healthcare, behavioral health services, job training and life skills, children’s programming and exposure to arts and cultural resources at the new location.

A ribbon-cutting is planned for Thursday, May 24. The $22 million facility consists of 70 apartments – studios, one-bedroom and two-bedrooms – and will accommodate a total of 310 formerly homeless single women, female veterans, and single- and two-parent families. In addition, approximately 30 supplementary units will assist women and families in need of short-term emergency housing and medical respite.

As part of Community Leaders Day, approximately 29 members of the JAX Chamber rolled up their sleeves April 27 to assemble couches, chairs, dressers, beds and tables. “We’ve been blessed, and as an organization, we feel obligated to give back to the city of Jacksonville and to people who may not have as much hope as most people do,” said Daniel Davis, president and CEO of JAX Chamber. “It doesn’t matter what part of the city they come from or what their socio-economic background is. We want to serve those people. We are happy to be here and appreciate the opportunity.”

By Marcia Hodgson

Resident Community News

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