Piece after piece of furniture entered the López Guzman apartment Saturday: two dressers, a sofa, a coffee table, a large bookcase, an entertainment hutch and an expandable kitchen table with five chairs.
Arelis López Guzman, 36, could not believe all this new furniture was just for her and her family.
“I am mucho happy,” she said. “It is a lot for me. Thank you so much.”
The furniture was made possible by Furniture Mall of Texas, which has the same local owners as Austin’s Couch Potatoes. This is the second year Austin’s Couch Potatoes and Furniture Mall of Texas have helped all the Statesman’s Season for Caring families and the third time they have contributed to the program.
Each year, the Statesman highlights the needs in our community by featuring families nominated by local nonprofit organizations. The money raised helps the featured families first and then helps hundreds of other families served by the nonprofit organizations with basic needs throughout the year.
Season for Caring has raised more than $15.2 million for local nonprofit organizations since it began in 1999. This year, the program has raised more than $388,000, 77.6% of the Sheth family’s $500,000 match, which will end on Christmas Day.
The López Guzman family was nominated by Foundation Communities, which helps provide affordable housing throughout Austin.
Give now: How to help families through the Statesman Season for Caring program
Arelis López Guzman and her 13-year-old daughter, Marlen, came to Austin five years ago from Guatemala after Marlen was threatened and was no longer safe in that country.
In Austin, López Guzman met her now-husband, Jose Menchu Orozco, who happened to be from the same village in Guatemala. They had daughter Samantha, who is now 4. Another daughter, to be named Ofelia Galilea, is expected any day now.
Read more: Seeking safer life for her daughters after attack
Sitting down at the new kitchen table, López Guzman felt the smooth grain of the table with an outstretched arm.
“I’ve never had a new table,” she said.
They had found their previous kitchen table at a Salvation Army resale store. They plan to donate it to a church.
They received their previous couch used from a neighbor. As they sat on that couch, its cushions sank to the bottom, providing little support, especially for a mom who is nine months pregnant.
When the new couch entered the apartment, López Guzman said, “Oh, my goodness,” in disbelief.
Furniture Mall of Texas and Austin’s Couch Potatoes provided all the needed furniture for the López Guzman family, the Gaston-Ellis family, the Castillo family and Cheryl Selby — about $7,000 worth of donated furniture.
The stores are also making new furniture available to the other Season for Caring families at wholesale prices. This will allow the nonprofit organizations to use Season for Caring money to help the families get what they need without asking for gently used furniture and having volunteers move that furniture.
The total donation is expected to be about $20,000.
Furniture Mall of Texas and Austin’s Couch Potatoes co-owner Brian Morgan told the Statesman: “We are so honored to serve alongside you. We can’t think of a better way to show that we love our neighbors than supporting the Statesman and those you extend help to.”
This year has been challenging for local businesses, which are dealing with supply chain issues and back orders.
“I know that when we faithfully give sacrificially, God has always, every single year without fail, provided all of our needs,” Morgan said. “It’s all God’s in the first place; we are just the shopkeepers and caretakers of everything he has shared with us.”
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The López Guzman family also has received a new crib, a baby-changing table and dresser, items for the baby, and a vacuum through an Amazon gift registry. The family still needs a new or gently used car; help paying medical bills, immigration attorney fees, rent and utilities; and English lessons and culinary classes for López Guzman. Marlen would like violin strings and violin lessons, and Samantha would like a keyboard and piano lessons.
To find out more about the López Guzman family or to give an item on their wish list, contact Foundation Communities at 512-447-2026, foundcom.org.
Donate to Statesman Season for Caring
Now through Christmas, the Sheth family is matching up to $500,000 in donations.
Find out more about Season for Caring, read the stories of the featured families and make a donation at statesman.com/seasonforcaring. You also can find a coupon to mail in a donation on Page 3B.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Season for Caring family receives apartment full of furniture from Furniture Mall of Texas