Shalom Bayit offers furniture to domestic violence survivors

Washington state’s only furniture bank that exclusively serves survivors of domestic violence is right here in Redmond, at a confidential location to protect its clients’ safety.

Washington state’s only furniture bank that exclusively serves survivors of domestic violence is right here in Redmond, at a confidential location to protect its clients’ safety.

Shalom Bayit, which in Hebrew means “peaceful home,” is an outreach project of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Seattle Section. Established in 2001, the project collects and distributes new or gently used furniture and household goods to women and children in King County, who’ve been displaced from their homes because of domestic violence.

Help is available to women and children of any faith, ethnicity, racial or economic background. The only items reserved for Jewish clients are those specifically related to Jewish worship or culture, such as menorahs.

Clients are referred to Shalom Bayit through social service and government agencies and other organizations which serve women and children at risk.

“We don’t provide case management or advocacy,” explained Lauren Simonds, executive director of NCJW, Seattle. “But for the women who come to us, we follow up with Eastside Domestic Violence, schools, police departments and agencies such as Catholic Community Services, if a client has expressed needs that are still unmet.”

In an average month, Shalom Bayit works with anywhere from nine or 10 to 15 or 16 families, based on what is in its inventory and its ability to deliver the goods to clients, said Rachel Love, program and volunteer coordinator for NCJW, Seattle.

“We work with professional movers who are licensed and bonded, so we don’t have to worry about accidents or property damage,” Simonds added.

The cost of paying the movers is defrayed through fundraising and grant-writing and Shalom Bayit bills a modest quarterly fee to the agencies that refer clients. Those who can’t pay will never be denied service, Simonds noted.

As well, they request a suggested donation of $25 from people who’ve asked them to pick up heavy items such as beds or sofas.

Moves of large items are typically performed twice a month, on Fridays and Sundays, to serve as many clients as possible. Clients also can visit Shalom Bayit’s warehouse to pick up small furnishings such as bed linens, towels and kitchen ware. Love shows them what is available and allows them to “shop for” what they need.

Clients usually bring advocates with them and directions to the warehouse are revealed only after callers have been screened, Simonds explained.

In addition to basic home furnishings, Shalom Bayit collects decorative artwork to help make clients’ new living spaces feel more personal and appealing.

With regard to all donations, items must be in good, working condition — not torn, dirty or excessively worn. Computers and older electronics are not accepted, nor are clothing, toys, books or baby/child car seats. But staff at Shalom Bayit will refer prospective donors to other organizations which accept those things.

Twin size beds and mattresses are always needed, since most clients have children. The Sleep Store in Redmond often donates floor models or gently used mattresses that their customers are replacing, said Simonds.

“We are always looking for volunteers to sort and organize donations and strive to make it a family event,” said Love. Youth and school groups (with adult supervisors) are invited to participate, clerical assistance is also needed, “and we always take money,” Simonds concluded.

Financial contributions for Shalom Bayit are tax-deductible and directly benefit the program.

For information, e-mail or call (425) 558-1894.