Lee student furnishes the needy - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Lee student furnishes the needy

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -- When 23-year-old Lee University senior Daniel Murch saw the destruction after the March 2012 tornadoes, he immediately took action helping his native city of Cleveland.

Just a month prior he started Transition Furniture, a non-profit that would collect donated furniture for families in need. Through social media, Murch put out the call to help tornado victims.

"The only resource I really had was Twitter. So I just posted the needs on Twitter and within a few minutes needs were being met," recalls Murch.

A Facebook page and web site soon followed.

Floods of donated furniture came from individuals and eventually local companies. When he needed a place to put it all, the local United Way stepped up to the plate.

"We'll give you free office space and free storage space, because this is such a huge need within this community," Murch says.

He later borrowed a truck to deliver the items himself to several families as needed. But his mission continues a little more than a year later.

While Murch has focused a lot of attention helping tornado victims, he hasn't forgotten about people recovering from other types of situations.

"We've helped five house fire families, and then two families that were either moving from homelessness into housing or fleeing from domestic violence," explains Murch.

Nineteen-year-old Eric Kirkendoll, who heard about Murch, escaped a bad living situation last summer.

"A lot of drug use and things of that nature. Alcohol," says Kirkendoll.

With limited money available at the time, Transition Furniture came to the rescue for him and his roommate while they got their heads above water.

"Two queen beds with frames. Things like that. A couch, a table," says Kirkendoll. "We were just blessed by all that."

Although Murch has been assisted by the United Way and other local partners, he runs his non-profit solo for now. He's helped around a dozen families, serving Bradley and Polk counties. He's also been helping families in Adairsville, Georgia after they were struck by a late January tornado this year.

Murch graduates from Lee this spring with a degree in sociology and plans to expand Transition Furniture nationally and internationally over the next decade.

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