While not as thrilling as the L'Oreal 2012 Women of Worth Awards Dinner, the much-anticipated 12.12.12 Concert was fun to watch. It was a little painful to see how old our rock icons have gotten, especially since it means we have aged along with them, but the videos of the various volunteer groups and their stories of coming together from all over the country to help our devastated New York and New Jersey communities clean up and begin the slow process of rebuilding were very moving.
And the 12.12.12 Concert was certainly star-studded, including a parade of celebrities staffing the phone banks -- you "couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting one", as Brian Williams said repeatedly. It was definitely a far cry from the old Jerry Lewis telethons!
For those of us who were fortunate to come through Hurricane Sandy without significant loss, it is difficult to imagine what it is like to have life as you know it -- your home, your neighborhood, your family possessions and memories - obliterated in a few horrifying hours. And it is more difficult still to imagine how long it will take these entire communities to get back to some semblance of a "normal life" -- that "normal life" that so many of us take for granted: a comfortable home, with family meals at a kitchen table, movie nights on the sofa in the TV room, homework projects created at the computer desk in the study, stories read at bedtime by the light of the lamp on the bedside table.
The families we have seen on TV since Hurricane Sandy no longer take any of these things for granted now that they are lost, but there are also hundreds of thousands of families across the country who don't take these things for granted either because they don't have them to lose -- they just don't have them. Families moving out of homeless shelters, escaping domestic violence, struggling to pay the rent on the apartment they were finally able to secure, only to find that they cannot afford to buy beds to sleep on, a table to eat at or a sofa to sit on at the end of the day.
Now I don't know about your neighborhoods, but in my town, I see perfectly good furniture discarded at the curb every day -- furniture that I know a struggling family would be so grateful to receive. I created Furniture Sharehouse to bring them together -- furniture that needs a home and a home that needs furniture. Over 29,000 items of furniture and nearly 2,000 happy households later, it is still so gratifying to see the looks of amazement, relief and joy on our clients' faces as they hug our warehouse volunteers and thank them for giving them the furniture they need to fill their empty apartments and begin to rebuild their lives.
So when you are ready to find a new home for your gently-used furniture, go to www.furniturebanks.org and help a family in need "make a house a home". Oh, and if you are over 65 and have occasion to perform on worldwide TV, keep your shirt on (unlike Roger and Mick)!!
This post is part of a series co-produced by The Huffington Post and Points of Light to honor Loreal Paris' Women of Worth initiative. Women of Worth honors incredible women who are making a beautiful difference through their dedication to philanthropy and their passion for improving the world. The 10 women being honored this year were selected from thousands of nominations. Each of the honorees received $10,000 for her charitable cause from L'Oreal Paris. To learn more about Women of Worth or to submit a nomination beginning April 2013, please visit womenofworth.com.