Local News

Charity helps tornado victims turn houses into homes

Posted May 7, 2011 6:03 p.m. EDT
Updated May 7, 2011 9:00 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh charity is helping tornado victims furnish their homes after the April 16 tornadoes that thrashed parts of central and eastern North Carolina.

The Green Chair Project collects donations of gently used furniture and offers it to storm victims whose homes and belongings were damaged. The organization works by referral only and people pay a small fee for the furniture, such as $200 to furnish an entire home.

The Green Chair's organizers say the payment instills dignity and encourages a pride of ownership.

Jon and Debra Sykes were at Green Chair's showroom Saturday to pick up items to refurbish the rental home where they and their 12 children have been sleeping on the floor since the tornadoes hit.

"The house had carpets so it was okay; it wasn't the best, but it was okay," Debra Sykes said.

Donations have flooded the charity's 20,000 square foot warehouse at 1319 Capital Blvd. and household items continue to pour in.

Laura Jacobs and her sons dropped off some items Saturday.

"I feel blessed that I have what I have, but it also encourages me to make that what I don't need goes to people who are in need," Jacobs said.

For the Sykes family, the generosity of donors like Jacobs will help them make their rental house a place to call home.

"Words cannot express how grateful we are. Words cannot express. The donations, the love, I am just overwhelmed," Sykes said.

To learn more about contributing to The Green Chair Project, visit the website.

In Rocky Mount, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is giving away about 20 mobile homes, equipped with beds and appliances, to tornado-affected families.

Storm victims with housing needs are encouraged to sign up for FEMA assistance.