Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Farley.
Mark, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
26 years ago, I was a broken man, hopelessly alcoholic and addicted to methamphetamines. In jail.. again… for my 10th DUI, I was to be sent to prison. I was 30 years old and had estranged everyone from me in my life. As I stared into the piece of tin that serves as a jailhouse mirror, I suddenly realized that I no longer knew this person staring back at me. I got on my knees, and said the only prayer I could at the time, “God help me.”
Things began to change almost immediately. My cellmate kept inviting me to the AA meetings and until that day, I never wanted to attend. The H & I sponsored AA meeting started with a very short man who was not in jail jumping up on a table and shouting, “If you guys keep on doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting!” It was the shortest AA meeting I have ever attended because that was all I heard. He offered a Big Book to those of us “man enough to ask”, so I asked. I began reading the AA Big Book and attending the meetings.
After a few weeks, I went for my prison sentencing, but my Public Defender did not show up. 2 weeks later I went again to be sentenced and the Prosecutor did not show up. It would be 6 more weeks in the jail before I would be sentenced to prison. I stayed active in AA and in the Christian fellowship Overcomers Outreach. My heart began to change. I finally owned my alcoholism, took responsibility for the wreckage it had caused me and others and became willing to accept the consequences of prison time I had coming.
When I finally went to court to be sentenced, there was a different judge on the bench and he shared a letter that was written on my behalf by an anonymous member of AA telling him I was changing and asking him to give me a chance at a rehab program instead of prison. The judge stopped the sentencing and asked me if I would like to spend 6 months at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Sacramento. I knew that God had heard my cry for help and that I needed to keep following Him!
I willingly went to the Salvation Army. They loved me until I could learn to love myself. I threw myself into learning about God and became active in AA and in serving the homeless and addicted. I entered their Adjutant Program and earned my Pastoral certificate. I was awarded a scholarship to go back to college and got my Human Services as well as my CADC counseling certificates for drugs and alcohol. I began running the Phase 1 recovery programs for the Salvation Army and helped to manage the homeless shelter.
Through my quest for lasting sobriety in AA, I met my beautiful angel Tami, who allowed this strange man with a ponytail who worked at the homeless shelter and rode a bicycle to fall in love with her and eventually marry her. 3 years into our marriage, God loaned us His angel Kai to raise as our daughter!
For the past 26 years, I have lived one day at a time looking to serve and help. God saved me from alcoholism and addiction and taught me how to be free through serving others. I believe in and truly try to live what the Bible promises that it is through giving to others that we receive. God has given me more than I ever deserved.
The Big Book has taught me that Faith without works is dead. The least I can do is to try daily to pay Him back by serving others.
Because of AA, today I am a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a family member, and a friend to many. I have a home, a job, a ministry, and a founding partner of a nonprofit that helps others. AA taught me to be of humble service to others. From this suggestion, I have become an ordained Pastor and a college graduate with an MBA in Business and Marketing.
Thank you, Jesus, for saving me! Thank God for the Salvation Army and Alcoholics Anonymous!
Got Hope, need HOPE? www.FaithThroughWorksFellowship.org
Has it been a smooth road?
Recovering from Alcohol and Drug addiction.
Dealing with the loss of businesses.
Earning the trust and respect of the faith-based community and social services agencies.
Learning to allow people to have their own opinions and not let that influence my actions and behaviors.
Learning that I have no control over people, places, things, and situations, but I DO have control over how I CHOOSE to let them affect me!
Learning to NOT turn a bad moment into a bad day!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Furniture Bank – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Furniture Bank is a 501c3 public charity dedicated to helping families and individuals who are not as blessed as we are right now. We are not in the hand OUT business, rather we are in the hand UP business. We believe that every child should have their own safe bed to sleep in and a kitchen table to enjoy and share meals with their family.
Furniture Bank is 100% funded from in-kind donations.
Furniture Bank is willing to try and help anyone and gets direct referrals from most of the greater Phoenix Area social services, helping agencies, and faith-based communities. Some of our referral partners are United Cerebral Palsy, Catholic Charities and refugee programs, UMOM, Chrysalis Shelter for Domestic Violence, Family Promise, Save the Family, Turn a New Leaf, Autumn House, CASS, Lodestar Day Services, The Jewish Community Foundation, and Gila River Indian Community. Tami Jackson is my wife and our founder. This was her vision after serving alongside me for over 20 years helping the homeless and helpless. We take NO money for this. Every penny donated to Furniture Bank goes to help our clients with their needs. I and our other volunteers all have jobs that give us the income we need to live on and help others.
Formed in the fall of 2012, we began very small, helping about a dozen families. In 2013, we were blessed to be able to serve 50 families and we served over 100 families and individuals in 2014. Since 2015, we have helped almost 200 families and individuals annually. Increased furniture donations from local individuals and families allow us to continue to help more families and individuals for 2017.
Furniture Bank qualifies to receive the Arizona Working Poor, now known as The Charitable Tax Credit. It is a dollar-for-dollar charitable contribution you can give to 501(c)(3) corporations (nonprofits). With Arizona’s Charitable Tax Credit you can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, up to $400 filing single or $800 if filing a joint return, on your state income taxes while helping the homeless – at no additional cost to you. You can still donate to your child’s school as well.
What sets up apart from others are the facts that: 1. Every penny donated goes to help our clients, we do not keep any of the funds. We are blessed with gainful employment! 2. We only accept gently used furniture and furnishings that are in great shape! This means we only accept items that you would lovingly give to a family member or good friend. 3. We are ion the HAND UP business and NOT the hand-out game. This means we only work with those who are actively pursuing and participating in programs to achieve self-sustainability and escape homelessness and helplessness!
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love that FACT that no one, absolutely no one has to be homeless or hungry in the city! IF you are willing to participate in the solution and provide effort, you can get the help you need to achieve self-sustainability.
I wish we had less traffic congestion and not such HIGH temperatures!
- Furniture Bank qualifies to receive the Arizona Working Poor, now known as The Charitable Tax Credit. It is a dollar-for-dollar charitable contribution you can give to 501(c)(3) corporations (nonprofits). With Arizona’s Charitable Tax Credit you can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, up to $400 filing single or $800 if filing a joint return, on your state income taxes while helping the homeless – at no additional cost to you. You can still donate to your child’s school as well.
- Address: http://www.furniturebank.us
- Website: http://www.furniturebank.us/arizona-tax-credit.html
- Email: Mark@FurnitureBank.us
- Facebook: Funiture Bank Friends https://www.facebook.com/groups/1488778111397472/
- Other: http://www.faiththroughworksfellowship.org/