MHS Students Create Home Starters Non-Profit Organization

Home Starters is a student led non-profit organization that finds gently used furniture to provide to people that need it. The four founders of the organization are Juniors Tiffany Yu, Sammy Lee, Shuqi Yun, and Kristy Yang.

Lee said that one of the owners at where they tutor was a lawyer. Lee explained how the lawyer once received a case where a family was evicted, and all the furniture was sent to a warehouse. The lawyer visited the warehouse and the workers there told her that eventually all the furniture there would get recycled and/or disposed in some way. The lawyer asked the group of juniors to think of the an idea to save all this furniture that could potentially help someone. After discussing all their ideas, they thought it was just best to make it a way for families and individuals to receive the components they need for their home.  

Home Starters has been in the development process for a little more than a year. Since the four founders are still high school students, they received a lot of help from other individuals, groups, and small companies around the Malden community, but besides that they mostly manage the organization themselves. Lynn Leonard is the investor for Home Starters and helps them prepare government files and fundraising. They explained how Vistaprint was the company that helped create the website and make it look as professional as possible. The company also help them create and attach the application to the website.

From left to right: Kristy Yang, Sammy Lee, Mayor Gary Christenson,Tiffany Yu, Lynn Leonard, and Shuqi Yun. Submitted by Tiffany Yu.

The group explained that everytime they receive new furniture they will upload pictures to the website. People can scroll around and pick the furniture piece they desire, and fill out the application. The group then goes through the applications they receive to make sure these people are eligible to receive the furniture. A very important component of the application process is making sure this person gets referral from any kind of social worker or social advisor and evidence on their income.

They have communicated with many different companies in Malden and the surrounding cities, like Staples, U-Haul, and others. They try reaching out to these companies to get discounts which helps with their budgeting. Most of the money that goes into the organization is from donations and fundraising activities like the cookie sale. They mentioned that the money is mainly used to pay for renting the storage place and delivery services.

Home Starters has started in Malden, and one day expand to many other cities as well. Mayor, Gary Christenson stated that “as soon as they told [him] about the concept, [he] was eager to learn more and wanted help them promote their efforts.” Christenson explained that he thinks as a community “we can remain focused on the critical issue of housing while organizations like Home Starters help provide the essentials that families need to get on their feet.”

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