Sofa Shuffle Diverts Furniture from Dumps to Charities

June 5, 2009 — This year's "Sofa Shuffle," the University of Virginia's off-Grounds furniture donation drive, diverted 10 truckloads of furniture and household goods from area landfills and gave them to local charities.

Sofa Shuffle, organized by U.Va.'s Office of Community Relations, accepts donations from students who are moving out of off-Grounds housing, as well as other community members, and turns them over to the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity.

Students brought computers, televisions, printers, sofas, bed frames, mattresses, chairs and household items to six collection sites over three days in May. More than 300 items were donated, totaling more than a ton of goods.

Albemarle County and Charlottesville City Social Services offices distributed vouchers that allow families in need to purchase items from the Salvation Army and the Habitat Store for discounted prices.

The University Community Relations Office, which sponsored the event with the aid of the Blue Ridge Apartments Council, The Habitat Store, the Off-Grounds Housing Office and the Salvation Army, has been collecting furniture in May for more than 10 years. During that time, students have donated tens of thousands of pounds of useful furniture and other household items to benefit families in need in the community.

"We're grateful to the University community for its tremendous support during this year's Sofa Shuffle," said Capt. Dan Matthews of the Salvation Army. "The donated furniture and household items help fund programs that allow us to provide food and housing for more than 100 people every day."

On Grounds, the similar "Chuck it for Charity" program, through which students in on-Grounds housing donate to charities, diverted about 28,500 pounds of items from landfills. Students donated 3,360 pounds of clothing, 345 pounds of bedding and linens, along with dozens of refrigerators, bicycles, microwaves, vacuums, desks, computer printers, couches and futons, tables, appliances and other items. About 485 pounds of nonperishable foods were donated, along with more than 3,600 pounds of carpeting.

The materials donated will be used by the charitable organizations in the Charlottesville community and across the world, as many of the groups send items overseas to areas in Africa.

Fourteen organizations participated in Chuck it for Charity this year, including Advancing Native Missions, Afton Area Home Schoolers, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, The Church of Incarnation and The Clothing Center, marking the highest number of participants ever.

For information about the Sofa Shuffle and to view pictures of the drive, visit the Community Relations Web site. For information on Chuck it for Charity, visit the Sustainability Web site.