It happens to Orion’s Attic all the time: We’re nearly done with a long day of picking up antique and modern furniture, driving it often long distances to retail stores and setting it up for display there. Won-ok and I are wiped out. The teenagers who work for us are wiped out.
We then all get a second wind when we think about the one additional stop we’re making that day – heading to A Wider Circle with furniture for families in need. We’re often more excited by the true value of what we’re donating than by the profits we expect to make on the day. We love to see the excitement on the faces of the hard-working volunteers who help us unload our truck. We love hearing them point to a nice bed, couch, dining table or other high quality household item and say, “Take that straight to the showroom floor. It will be gone tomorrow!”
A testimonial on A Wider Circle’s Web site illuminates their joy and ours.
“I couldn’t believe all the things we got,” said Quinuanah, a U.S. military veteran served by A Wider Circle. “I felt like someone actually cared about the service I did for my country. I can’t wait to get home and sleep in my brand new bed!”
Located in Silver Spring, Maryland, A Wider Circle is a multifaceted and very special kind of charitable organization. Start with the “showroom floor.” AWS doesn’t make people feel worse by treating them like charity cases. It makes them feel better by treating them like worthy clients – giving families first-class customer service by showing them a showroom full of items they can select to furnish their homes. It’s all free to the clients, a number now reaching 15,000 every year. A Wider Circle does a lot of other great things to eradicate poverty, too, ranging from preparing people to obtain jobs that will change their lives to providing them with health and wellness information.
“What affects one of us affects us all, regardless of whether or not we feel it on a conscious level,” A Wider Circle founder Dr. Mark Bergel said in 2001. “Understanding this interconnectedness reinforces the need to widen our circle of compassion. While there are many effective programs and organizations serving people, and while volunteerism is increasing, the needs still outweigh the current response. We have the ability to help everyone have a healthy experience of life. And while there is much to do to make this our reality, the simplicity of it all is clear. By understanding that love is a verb, not a noun, we can translate our compassion into action.”
If donation drop-offs equated to airline miles, Orion’s Attic would have enough to travel the world. We’re happy to simply buy AWS t-shirts to help share the pride we take in being able to help. Classic examples of how we do our part to serve A Wider Circle’s mission:
- We empty our truck and set up our newest merchandise at one of our retail stores. If we see items that have sat too long, we put them on our truck and take them to A Wider Circle.
- We buy a lot of items at a client’s home and still have empty space left on the truck. We ask if the client has anything to donate to AWS that we can drop off for him or her.
- We visit clients looking to sell some pieces or we finish conducting one of our estate sales, asses the profit potential of what’s there and encourage them instead to call AWS to schedule a pickup if it’s more than we can transport. If we’re not going to make much from a project, we would rather see the furniture and household items donated than sold: A Wider Circle clients need the items more than we need the money we would make from selling them.
Any quality item we can rescue and save is an item that goes to someone who needs it. It also stays out of a landfill, which supports our environmental ethic. All of that work is another example of what we mean by what’s printed on the backs of our shirts … “Buy good stuff. Do great things.”
We hope you’ll widen your own circle of compassion by supporting this endeavor, too.
A Wider Circle is open to accept donations seven days a week. Contact them today!