From THP to the Furniture Bank: Samuel’s Story

Samuel with fellow AmeriCorps Service Member Letitia.

If you’ve dropped off a Furniture Bank donation or scheduled a pick up, then you may have met Samuel. He’s a member of our warehouse team and an AmeriCorps service member for CARITAS.

“He’s high energy and such a hard worker,” says Warehouse Manager Lori Schmiege. 

At 65, Samuel’s enthusiasm is infectious, she says. 

“I have a purpose today and that is to live life on life’s terms to the best of my ability,” Samuel says. “I’m a work in progress and I continue to work on me.”

Samuel first came to CARITAS in 2011. He was working to find a pathway to long-term sobriety. His search led him to The Healing Place.  

Samuel first tried drugs at age 13. Originally from Florida, Samuel said he would fluctuate between times of sobriety and times of addiction on the streets. Eventually his journeys led him to Norfolk, Virginia.

“One day I decided I had enough of the streets,” he said.

That day in 2011, Samuel set off on foot to Richmond, knowing he’d find answers there. After arriving in Richmond , Samuel was referred to The Healing Place program. Within a year, he was an alumni and graduated from CARITAS Works

“I had a bank account, a good job, and I was happy,” he said. “I learned how to work on myself and dream.”

Sometimes, relapse is part of recovery. In 2017, Samuel fell back to substance use again. He quickly headed back to The Healing Place for help. Our doors are open 24/7 and we welcome men like Samuel without judgement. 

Samuel went back through the program on an accelerated track. He successfully completed the program and was ready to work. CARITAS was excited to welcome  him to our team in the Furniture Bank through an AmeriCorps grant. 

“They know they need to be around people in sobriety,” says Lori. “The jobs here help them transition back into the real world.” 

Samuel joined a team that helps stage our showroom, pick up furniture, and deliver furniture to clients served by the Furniture Bank. 

“It’s so great when they see the impact they can have on the community,” Lori says. “They may have been one of the guys destroying that community.  

Today, Samuel has saved up enough money to purchase a truck and is preparing to return to Florida to pursue a career opportunity. 

“He’s planned it out and we’re so excited for him,” Lori says. 

We’ll also be sad to see Samuel go! We’ll miss you!

Learn more about our AmeriCorps partnership.

Learn more about the Furniture Bank.

Learn more about The Healing Place.