Better Days offers help in tough times for Farmville, region
Published 6:07 am Saturday, August 5, 2023
Better Days Farmville has supported families and individuals in crisis since January 2022, and they have no plans to stop. With a high level of need driven by rising house prices and personal crises, Better Days works hard to help people who are “starting over” receive all of the home necessities they need to get back on their feet.
Sarah Mullins-Spears, the founder of Better Days, helps meet the needs and advocate for families facing a crisis in Virginia. Mullins-Spears explained that Better Days is “designed to remove the obstacles of furnishing a new home” by providing furniture and other basic home supplies.
CRAFTING A VISION
Mullins-Spears first got the idea from her now-mentor, Teri Crawford Brown, who founded the organization Blackberry Winter in Richland, with a similar mission. The idea touched Mullins-Spears deeply, and when she saw a need in Farmville, she realized it was time to step up.
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She started by collecting furniture from people who no longer needed what they had, but since then, the organization has grown rapidly. Mullins-Spears said, “we have a core base of about 10 volunteers, but over the course of the last year, we’ve had 60-75 different people volunteer.”
It’s frequently labor-intensive, involving moving furniture and assisting families, but there are other ways people can volunteer with Better Days. Sarah is always looking for furniture goods and can use additional help with organizing and coordinating projects.
Mullins-Spears was proud to say that, so far, they’ve helped 39 families in the area.
DOING “THE BIG GIVE”
The organization prides itself on being able to do “the big give” by donating larger, bulky items that are harder to get from other places. Mullins-Spears explained they wanted to fill a hole they saw in the Farmville community, “(other organizations) do a great job if somebody needs a couch or a washing machine or a bed, but when you lose your whole house to a fire or you’ve been in a hotel for 6-9 months, you really just have your clothes.” For situations like that, Better Days steps in to provide all of the furnishings a family may need.
Mullins-Spears stressed that the organization is available for anyone who is going through a crisis. Better Days has helped individuals coming out of homelessness or rehabilitation treatments, as well as families who may have lost their homes due to a natural disaster. Whatever the reason, if someone is in need, Better Days works hard to get people and their families help.
For those who need assistance, Better Days has a process outlined on its Facebook page to receive help. Mullins-Spears explained, “What we ask is that someone other than the family reach out on behalf of the family.” Whoever reaches out to Better Days becomes the person of contact, and the organization will ask that person to provide a list of needs and assist with the transportation of items.
Once Better Days has a list of the family’s needs, they can usually fulfill the requests within 48 hours as long as the family can transport the items.
Better Days also helps connect individuals to other resources, like social services, FACES Food Pantry, senior services, and other organizations that work hard to fulfill community needs.
AN ORGANIZATION BUILT FOR EVERYONE
Mullins-Spears wants the Farmville community to understand that “life happens…anyone could need this service at some point.” She loves having built this organization and explained, “it’s an honor and a privilege to watch people give things and people receive them, and I’m the conduit in-between. You know people gave it with love and people receive it with love.”
For some, it can be a relief to donate items they have no use for, and it can make people feel happy to know it’s going to a neighbor in the area.
The work Better Days does isn’t always easy; Mullins-Spears explained that it can be a heavy burden both emotionally and physically to help struggling families in this way, but it’s always worth it.
Mullins-Spears is grateful for how much the Farmville community is able to rally around the organization’s efforts, “Farmville’s really special in how much love there is and how when people decide to do something, it gets done…There’s a tremendous amount of love here.”
Mullins-Spears is excited to keep growing Better Days. The organization looks forward to helping more families and serving the community. You can keep up with their work or learn more about the application process by heading to their Facebook page.