Furnishing Hope

The Barnabas Network gets a new address and executive director

For an agency that deals mostly in used items, there’s an awful lot of “new” going on at The Barnabas Network.

The nonprofit furniture bank moved into a new location in December, transplanting from a leased location on 16th Street to a
smaller donated building at 838 Winston Street, a block south of
Bessemer Avenue in Greensboro.

Then there’s the new executive director, 34-year-old Derrick Sides, formerly the chief administrator at the Randolph Arts Guild.

At Barnabas, he replaces Erin Stratford Owens, who’s now at the helm of the Humane Society of the Piedmont.

It’s a small, small, small nonprofit world.

The double dose of new at Barnabas means the organization is poised to grow in different ways, says Sides, who would like to see more social media presence for the outfit that channels donated furniture, housewares and appliances to needy folks who’ve been referred by human services agencies.

Clients shop for the basics, for free, in the Barnabas warehouse. Some of the donated furniture — which is given by individuals, plus furniture and consignment stores — goes to the Barnabas retail store, housed under the same roof.

Board members hope a bigger social media profile will boost sales on the retail side, which brings in about 15 percent of the operating budget. They’d also like to raise awareness of the Barnabas mission.

“It’s the simple premise of taking excess abundance from people who have enough and giving it to people who don’t,” says board member Ruth Edwards.

Started in 2006 as an outreach of Greensboro’s Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, the local charity was named for St. Barnabas, an early Christian missionary who sold his possessions and gave the proceeds to the disciples, including his friend St. Paul.

The organization’s goals line up with Sides’s personal values. He recalls a conversation with his 6-year-old daughter shortly after he left the arts guild to focus on organic farming for a while.

“She was genuinely upset that not everybody had a house to live in or food to eat or basic amenities. I said, ‘The reason you feel that way is that something needs to be done about it. That’s why we’re here, is to take care of each other,’ ” he says. “It was within a day or two that this opportunity came across my radar.”  OH

Next on the Barnabas calendar: Chair Affair, a silent auction of one-of-a-kind chairs decorated by artists. A ticket to the event will get the holder free food, drink and live entertainment. The fundraiser is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. on June 1 at Tracks Bazaar, 302 Gate City Boulevard. For more info, go to

– Maria Johnson

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