Waco First Baptist Church is giving Baylor graduate students the opportunity to improve their living spaces from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at 400 S. 6th Street.
Through a program called Furnishings@First, the church opens an empty warehouse twice a year and fills it with furniture donated by members and the community and invites graduate students to come see what they find.
Curt Kruschwitz, associate pastor to college and community missions at First Baptist, said they started doing this back in 2009 when they realized no churches were doing anything specifically for graduate students.
“We went to all of the different graduate schools at Baylor and asked what we could do,” Kruschwitz said. “Everyone immediately said furniture.”
The warehouse, located behind the church on 400 S. 6th Street, opened last weekend for the first time this year and will open again this Saturday.
Kruschwitz said students are allowed to come in and grab one big item or two small ones. Whenever they are done using them, students are asked to return the items they borrowed to the church.
“Students can take something big like a sofa or bed frame or take two smaller items such as a lamp and microwave,” Kruschwitz said.
Before students take the furniture, they are required to fill out a form listing their classification and the items they’re taking.
T Furniture too big or heavy is taken in trucks driven by volunteers to the student’s place of residence.
Truett Seminary graduate student Austin Bratcher volunteered as a truck driver for Furnishings@First this last Saturday, Bratcher said the best thing about being involved with the program was the help it gave to graduate students, especially international ones.
“It’s a really good way to make an impact,” Austin said. “A lot of these graduate students come from foreign countries as well and this gives them a piece of normality by having these necessities.”
First Baptist church member and volunteer Sarah Moore agreed with Austin, saying that a lot of graduate students don’t bring a lot with them and doing this helps members of the church to be involved.
“We want to have an ongoing relationship with them,” Moore said. “It gives a level of involvement for the church and the more people that come, the better.”
Kruschwitz said they have received many students in the past and are expecting more students to come as Furnishings@First continues.
“This has been a win-win situation for us,” Kruschwitz said. “We had at least 130 students show up last weekend and it’s been a natural fit. We thought we should do one thing well and stick with it.”
Anyone who would like to donate furniture for Furniture@First can drop off their donations at Waco First Baptist Church.