What started in 1994 with 12 families receiving furniture for the holidays has nearly tripled in giving at Home Furnishings Association member Walker Furniture. This year, 35 families in the Las Vegas area had their homes furnished as part of Walker Furniture’s 25th annual Home for the Holidays giveaway.
The first delivery was made Dec. 14 to Jason Johnson, a single father of six who was recently laid off from his job. Johnson has three daughters — ages, 1, 4 and 5 — and three sons — 3-year-old twins and a 9-year-old.
“We went there, and they had nothing,” Patti Gerace, Walker Furniture’s marketing director, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “They had a bed bug infestation, and they had to get rid of all their furniture.”
Walker donated furniture for the Johnsons’ whole home. Larry Alterwitz, the owner of Walker Furniture, even offered Johnson a job, which he accepted.
“They’re just a beautiful, beautiful family,” Alterwitz said.
Walker Furniture partnered with the Las Vegas Rescue Mission to provide the Johnson family with services for the next year, including clothes, food and medical services.
The annual giveaway started in 1994 with a dozen families. This year, nonprofit Helping Hands of Vegas Valley aided Walker Furniture in selecting 35 families to receive furniture and services. A local nursery also partnered with the furniture company, donating decorative poinsettias, a Christmas tree and ornaments, and a $300 gift card to each family. Deliveries to families took place throughout December.
Johnson never planned on having children, let alone six, he said.
“When I was a kid, they used to say it takes a village,” Johnson said. His parents and oldest son — who has helped change his younger siblings’ diapers and make bottles — were his village, he said.
“This is amazing — getting what I need but didn’t really ask for,” said Johnson, holding two children on his lap and pulling his oldest son into a hug. “Especially for my kids.”