(Photo courtesy of Hunt Real Estate.)
Workers from Poetice International load office furniture donated by Hunt Real Estate on a tractor trailer. The furniture is now on its way to a school in Zambia, Africa.
When real estate agent Christine Noonan volunteered to find a place for the large amount of office furniture left over when Hunt Real Estate moved from Sunset Drive to their new Camp Road location at the beginning of the month, sending it to Zambia, Africa wasn’t the first thing to come to mind.
“I was walking through the mall literally thinking, this is a lot of furniture, what am I going to do with it,” she said.
While contemplating ways to go about giving the furniture away, Noonan ran into an old client and friend at the mall, who suggested that a non-profit called Poetice International may be able to use the furniture, as they had just opened a new building in Zambia, with offices and a school in it. Noonan liked the idea.
“Right then and there, he made some phone calls,” she said. “Within three weeks, they were here. When people say, ‘it’s all in who you know,’ it really is, even halfway around the world.”
Sending the furniture to Zambia made sense on a personal level, as well. Both of Noonan’s daughters have visited the country to do aid work.
“They do home visits for some of the villagers,” she said, talking about the work her daughters have done in Zambia. “They’re caring for AIDS patients, the sick, playing with the kids, helping dig wells, all sorts of different things.”
For Poetice, who work with children in Zambia on things like abstinence and education, the furniture was a boon. The organization has spent roughly $18,000 to get the furniture to Zambia, far less than it would have cost to purchase new furniture, Noonan said.
Poetice wasn’t able to take all of the furniture, as the wooden desks available wouldn’t be able to survive the three-month boat trip. Noonan knew several people involved with local organizations who work with children and adults from the church she attends, so she began calling around to see who would be able to use the furniture. She was able to get rid of everything except for one wooden desk, which was broken.
“The very last day that we had access to the building, I had one desk left,” she said. “Nobody wanted it because it was broken. I called a friend of our daughters, and said, ‘you wouldn’t want to burn this, would you?’ The next morning, him and my daughter loaded it up and took it to his burn pile.”
For Noonan, being able to give the furniture to a group like Poetice, and local groups like Jericho Road Ministries, a group working with refugees in the city, was the best possible outcome for the furniture, which would have been thrown away otherwise.
“It was very fulfilling,” she said. “It was really, really neat to be able to take a look at stuff and say, who can use this stuff and who needs it?”
The organizations who are receiving the furniture were all “very excited,“ Noonan said, especially Poetice.
“They were extremely excited with the amount of money they were able to save,” she said. “I told them I’d like some pictures once it is actually in Zambia.”
Hunt, for their part, was happy to help out by donating the furniture to the groups, said Manager John Rummel in a press release.
“Our agents are proud to be able to help,” he said.
The furniture will take about three months to get to the building in Zambia. Noonan can be reached at 648-2300 for more information on the organizations the furniture was donated to.