The Mustard Seed
Central Indiana Organization Provides Furniture For Those In Need
Photographer: Pat Carlini
We are all aware of food banks that provide hunger relief to those in need, now there’s an organization helping families with a different need — the need for furniture and household items to establish their home.
The Mustard Seed of Central Indiana is a fairly new furniture bank that provides furniture and home-related items to families and individuals throughout Central Indiana who are trying to rebuild their lives after suffering disaster, personal tragedy or other misfortunes.
Their agency name is derived from a Bible verse: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains.”
Established in Central Florida in 1984, Mustard Seed opened in the Central Indiana area in 2014 and is housed in a 5,400 square-foot warehouse at 10080 E 121st St. in Fishers. The organization got off to a slow start but has built a solid foundation for the agency today. Executive Director Natalia Blondet joined last year and says the need is great, especially among veterans.
“About 75 percent of our clients are veterans, most homeless,” Blondet says. “There’s also victims of domestic abuse and those living in poverty, too.”
Clients are referred to Mustard Seed through area social service agencies, faith-based groups and churches and schools who pay a fee of $250, which covers furniture selection and delivery to the client’s home.
“There is some money involved, but it is a one time fee to help a family or individual rebuild their life,” Blondet says.
Mustard Seed also depends heavily on community support and volunteers.
“ I like to say we are small in staff but mighty in love,” Blondet adds.
Their 4,800 square foot space is donated to them by Fishers Ridge. A Charles Schwab team – doing their volunteer work — helped move furniture to their new warehouse. Then, there are donations that come in every week. Couches and tables for a family to gather in their new living room, maybe a desk for someone who wants to return to school and finish their education and then, of course, bed frames and mattresses, which are deep-cleaned before going out the door.
How many items and how much is determined by how big each family is. They don’t collect knick-knacks, or paintings but definitely sheets, blankets, pots and pans, cooking utensils, plates and glasses.
“There are donors that have some nice furniture they just don’t need anymore but want it to go to a good home,” Blondet says. “This is a perfect way to get some use out of the furniture. The donor feels good and the recipient feels good and surprised at the quality.”
Mustard Seed served more than 80 families last year, and they are already up to 66 families so far this year. Blondet says she enjoys helping clients achieve restored dignity and self-esteem so they can move forward and rebuild their lives.
Blondet’s parents, who came to America from Mexico, always told her this is the land of opportunity and anything is possible. Today, she shares that mindset with many of her clients that she meets as they pick out furniture from the warehouse. She keeps a collection of photos clients have sent her, such as a little girl asleep in her first bed, to a man with his new furniture on a truck.
“I’ve learned what a difference a little furniture can make in a person’s life,” she says. “It’s been amazing.”
For more information or to donate visit MustardSeedIndy.org or give them a call at 317-572-5724.