Skip to content

Spectrum News1 Good News Article

Furniture for Abuse Survivors: Helping Families Get A Fresh Start

MADISON, Wis.— A Wisconsin woman made it her mission to help survivors of abuse get fresh starts.  Lots of people have gotten new hobbies or found new passions throughout the pandemic. Felicia Raye Diny is one of them.  It all started with a couch, in the summer of 2020. She decided to donate her old sofa through Shelter from the Storm Ministries in Sun Prairie. They had a family who desperately needed furniture.  “When I delivered it, I found out the mom didn’t have anything else. She didn’t have beds, or clothes, or toys,” she said. “So I said, ‘I really want to be able to help and do more.”’

She put out the call on Facebook, asking for more items for the family.  “The number of responses I got was incredible,” Diny said, with a big smile on her face. “I went around and started collecting clothes, and shoes, and toys, and dishes, and whatever you can possibly think of.”  People were asking for receipts of their donations, and she realized the project was growing. So she decided to turn it into a nonprofit.  She essentially never stopped collecting. Now she’s started a nonprofit called Felicia’s Donation Closet, where her whole mission is getting furniture for women and children leaving abusive situations.

“[It’s] for them to build a new home and start over,” she said. “That way they can focus on their job, school, their children, whatever they need to do to keep going forward, and know that they are on the right path.”

Earlier this year, she ended up helping a mom with three kids, who didn’t have any beds.

“We ended up renting a moving truck and going to eight different homes,” she said. “People donated this beautiful furniture, and delivering it to a mom that had three kids that were sleeping on the floor.”

Data shows the time period after a survivor leaves an abuser can be the most physically dangerous, and when they feel most vulnerable. It’s also when they can be out on their own, missing everything they’ve ever known, and could be at risk of returning to the abusive relationship.

“Starting over, if you don’t feel confident, you may go back to that abuser,” Diny said. “When you get out of a trauma situation, it’s very easy for you to go back, because you feel like you can’t go forward or like you feel like you made a mistake.”

She knows from personal experience.

“I was actually in a couple of abusive relationships. I was fortunate enough to get out of it before got really, really bad,” she said. “But it definitely took a toll. I do have a little bit of PTSD on some things. I do have panic attacks from my past. But I am growing and learning and stronger than ever.”

Someone recently donated a storage unit right across the street from the home she shares with her fiancé and stepdaughter in Springfield Corners. It’s mostly empty right now, with a mattress, box spring, and a few other items. But they’re hoping to fill it up.

As life comes full circle for Diny, she hopes to help more families get their new start. “I want them to know they are doing the right thing, they are taking care of their children, they’re doing everything that they can to make their life better,” she said. “Because they deserve it.” Diny would love to have a moving truck, so they don’t need to rent one every time they pick up and deliver furniture.

If you have old furniture you’d like to donate, click here to get in touch with Diny.

Recommended Posts