AHWATUKEE, AZ - An Ahwatukee woman has combined her passion for interior design with her desire to help the homeless.
Tami Jackson started a charity called Furniture Bank. She collects donated furniture and gives it to families getting back on their feet after homelessness.
"Right now we have a family, a mom who left a domestic violence situation," Jackson said. "She has four children. They are all young and I don't have beds for them and we need a full bed and four twin beds to be able to fit in their one bedroom apartment."
Right now, Jackson is using a 10-foot by 20-foot storage unit that was donated for her to keep all the items she receives.
"Ahwatukee is just awesome and they have embraced this and all of it has been donated and it just keeps coming in, and as fast as it comes in it goes out," Jackson said.
Those in need come to the unit and pick out items that will help them make a fresh start.
"It's definitely more than just furniture," Jackson said. "The self-esteem, the color is brought into a home. It is invigorating, it's motivating and it gives you energy and it says 'I'm glad to be alive today and I'm going to go out and work or I'm going to go to school and I'm just not going to take this day for granted.'"
But Jackson's passion is facing a hurdle of its own.
Come June 1st, she loses the free storage unit she's been using.
"We are hoping for a bigger storage unit," Jackson said. "We're looking for someone to support us and donate a space that we can use. That would be a huge blessing. That's one of the major expenses."
She is also looking for drivers with trucks willing to help at least once a month to move.
Jackson says keeping the charity going means more than just giving people a place to sit or sleep.
"It's a passion and I wanted to do it for a long time and there's a need and I consider it a privilege and I love doing it," she said.
The furniture bank is not yet a non-profit.
The cost to become a non-profit is great, so Jackson is exploring ways to organize under an already formed charity.
For more information or to help Jackson send an email to Tami480@gmail.com .