It's not hard to find a place to sit in the buff brick building in the 800 block of Walnut Street in McKeesport. Hundreds of sofas and chairs pack the first two floors. Sometimes there are couches and chairs on the sidewalk.
CVV Furniture provides low-cost and donated furniture to needy people who are referred by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other community organizations. Other customers walk in, looking for a good buy with easy financing.
On Tuesdays, scratch-and-dent items are placed at curbside, available to anyone who cares to haul the items away. In a city still in deep economic doldrums, not much goes unclaimed.
CVV is a nonprofit, faith-based initiative doubling as a furniture showroom. The organization and a companion nonprofit, Voice of Vision Outreach Ministries, formed in 1989, also host meals for homeless people, hold weekly services and Bible study and provide employment, community service opportunities and counseling.
As Calvin Green, the founder, made his way around the site last week, a woman pushing a stroller on the sidewalk said she'd be by to shop. "We'll take care of you," Dr. Green said, repeating the promise to others who ventured in.
Over the weekend, CVV took care of about 120 children who might otherwise have missed out on the simple joy of Christmas. It distributed items provided by the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, funded in part by generous Pittsburgh Post-Gazette readers.
The Goodfellows Fund raises money for Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army's Treasures for Children program, serving thousands of children in struggling families each year.
"It helps a lot of parents who otherwise would not be able to give their children a Christmas," said CVV administrator Tammy Kabba, organizer of the toy event.
She knows that firsthand. After her husband passed away several years ago, she raised four children as a single mom. Working mostly temporary jobs, she made enough to support the family, but utility bills erased any hope of buying gifts for the children.
"It was hard," she said. "You look at these beautiful children and you feel like you're shortchanging them as a parent."
The high-quality toys and games provided by Toys for Tots were well-appreciated, Ms. Kabba said. "It might not have been exactly what they wanted, but it was something so the tree wasn't bare."
At a toy giveaway last year, "the fact that the children were thankful without even knowing what they got just blessed me," she said.
To join a Pittsburgh holiday tradition that dates to 1947, and to put smiles on underprivileged children's faces, donate to the Goodfellows Fund by using the coupon that accompanies this story or online at www.post-gazette.com/goodfellows. Donations are tax-deductible and each one will be acknowledged in the pages of the Post-Gazette.
How to get toys
The Toys for Tots program will hold open houses this week to distribute toys to parents and guardians of needy children.
They will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Guardian Storage Solutions, 2839 Liberty Ave., Strip District.
Parents and guardians are required to bring photo ID for themselves, a birth certificate for each child (children up to age 12 are eligible) and proof of need: an EBT card, Access card or SNAP card.
Those wishing to volunteer can visit www.pittsburghcares.org.
Today's total: $5,156
Grand total: $17,019.57
Rob and Kati Falk $500
Jim and Debbie Boughnar $300
Chuck and Mary Beth Kremser $250
Donna Zaffy $200
The Bonnets $200
The Matheny family $200
George B. Duffey $200
John and Isabelle Holzapfel $100
Fran and Harvey Borovetz $100
In memory of Joseph Postol $100
In memory of Dush and Ann Zarnic $100
William Horowitz $100
Donald and Meredith McGraw $100
Bob and Lee Nicklos $100
Frank and Pam LaMantia $100
Dr. and Mrs. Frank H. Brown $100
In memory of Killian Scott Vogel $100
Wilmer Shue $100
Diane Cunningham $50
In honor of Allan grandchildren $50
Margorie Woodworth $50
Ms. Norman S. Artman $50
William Valauri $50
Rose and Joey $50
Chuck and Linda Potter $50
Donna and Tom Zolkiewicz $50
Michael and Dolores Kara $50
Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Bosse $50
I.J. and Judith Rudoy $50
Augusta H. Kairys $50
Louise B. Lytle $50
The Lynch family $50
Jim and Rhona Snyder $50
In loving memory of Carol Fehl and Charles Conley $50
Roche family $35
Bill and Judy Brennan $35
Bill and Dianna Paul $30
Elizabeth Donohue $30
Eileen A. Guiliani $30
James McKiernan $30
Larry and Lynn Conway $30
Rick and Carol Caruso $30
David and Eleanor Tourney and sons $25
Catherine Ciaramella $25
R.J. Lewis $25
Bill and Connie Jacobs $25
Tom Roth $25
John Gula $25
Tim and Carol Wirth $25
Charles R. Wall $25
U.S. Steel $25
Andrew Galioto $25
Betty Bosnich $25
Gail McLaughlin $25
Georgia Krelis $25
The Stanko family $25
Snyder family $20
In memory of "Dad." Marty, Maryann, Bob, Dave and grandkids $20
Philip and Janice McNelis $20
Russell and Beverly Balest $20
Cynthia Faigen $18
Marion Taube $18
In honor of Ina Sable's grandchildren $15
Sharon Bracken $15
Patty Scrima $15
In memory of Mum, Dad, Pat and B.B. $15
Newport grandchildren $15
Anthony, Adam, Emme $15
In memory of loved ones. Karen Marburger $15
Mary L. Joyce $15
In honor of my grandchildren and in memory of my husband and son T.J. Nichols and Jon Cichols Chorvan $10
Bob and Veronica Michak $10
McKenzie family $10
Mrs. Margaret Olischar $10
E. Blanche Jones $5
Jon Schmitz: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1868.