Our Town: Atlanta

Volunteer service organization to help at metro furniture bank

Project Live Love: pitching in at the Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta

noon to 4 p.m., Aug. 2

To register: www.projectlivelove.com


For the last five years, Woodstock resident Drew Benton has devoted his life to a philanthropic effort that takes him into communities across the metro area. His Project Live Love puts into practice the title’s guideline: living love by being of service in a variety of ways to a variety of neighborhoods.

The project part of the mission comes from whatever need the community has, said Benton. That’s led to a range of activities such as the one planned for Aug. 2: building, sorting and delivering furniture from the Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta to families getting a new start.

“We’ve been doing these sorts of events for the last four years,” said Benton. “This year, we’ll do about five, and we do them with volunteers from all over the metro area - Woodstock, Roswell, Alpharetta, Buford, intown.”

An event in May at Piedmont Park drew about 60 supporters who walked around the park carrying water jugs to spotlight the cause of countries where clean water is not available.

“It was a great day,” said Benton. “We raised about $5,000 to dig a well and raise awareness about the world water crisis.”

Benton is planning a November gathering in the Clarkston community where students from around the city will converge to work on a variety of projects. And as soon as winter weather sets in, he’ll muster support for the “3-0 We Go” project that provides blankets, gloves, coats and hats to homeless folks outside in temperatures below 30 degrees.

But first, he’s putting together a day of service at the Furniture Bank, located on Murphy Avenue in southwest Atlanta. Benton’s goal is to gather 100 volunteers who will build kitchen tables and chairs, deliver furniture to homes, landscape and paint the bank’s offices, and serve lunch to those who come to pitch in.

“The Furniture Bank provides household furniture for people who are fleeing domestic violence or living with HIV/AIDS, but they don’t deliver,” said Benton. “So we’ll be alleviating that problem for at least six families.”

Pam Owunta, the Furniture Bank’s volunteer coordinator, said Benton’s volunteers have helped out before, but this project is expected to be the biggest. And it couldn’t come a better time.

“It’s that time of year before school is starting when a lot of families are getting into their new spaces, but they may not have furniture,” she said.

Making a home for families in need meets Benton’s goals for his organization. “We’re designed to influence culture through loving acts,” he said. “We’re all volunteers who put love into action by serving somebody else. We create hands-on opportunities where someone can do that. And when you have that many people serving, a lot of energy and a lot of positive outcomes develop.”