About Us – Our Mission

Household Goods provides a full range of donated furniture and household items, free of charge, to help people in need make a home.


Our Founders, Ira and Barbara Smith

Our History

In 1990, Barbara Smith put a notice in her church bulletin asking for furniture donations so she and her husband, Ira, could help furnish an apartment for a woman and her young sons fleeing violence in San Salvador. After receiving far more than was needed, they offered the excess to the local housing authority, which then began telling people to call the Smiths directly if they were in need of household furnishings they needed but could not afford.

From these beginnings, Household Goods was born.

In the early years, donations of  goods outgrew the space available in the Smiths’ yard and carport, and spread to occupy satellite locations around town. Occupancy of one such location, a church basement, led to incorporation as an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit in 1999. The practicality of continuous steady growth to meet increasing need eventually necessitated centralizing the operation. In 2004, they settled into their permanent, 10,000 square foot home at 530 Main Street in Acton, a convenient location for donors, volunteers and clients. By matching the great need for household items with the generosity of the surrounding communities, Household Goods has served over 35,000 individuals and families since its inception, always mindful of maintaining an environment of dignity and respect for everyone involved. Each year, hundreds of volunteers commit over 30,000 hours of their time, working with over 300 social service agencies to help 2,500 families throughout eastern and central Massachusetts make a home.

The Need We Address

The people served by Household Goods have at least one thing in common — they need help during a difficult time.

Many in need are:

  • Recently homeless
  • Veterans
  • Fleeing domestic violence
  • Children, youth or elderly in need of services
  • Living with disability or illiness
  • Victims of fire
  • Families trying to get by on minimum wage

Pivoting during the Pandemic

Household Goods helps those in need create a home. In the time of the pandemic, we have pivoted to an online showroom where we  continue to offer individuals and families choice of their furniture and household items that they then pick up with minimal contact with our volunteers. What hasn’t changed, though, is how our volunteers work hard to make sure our clients are always treated with the utmost respect and are able to find the household goods they need.

Recently we received the following client comments:

“We were displaced by fire and spent nearly two months homeless before moving into a new apartment, so we are replacing just about everything.

I have no idea what we would otherwise do (without Household Goods) and we wholly appreciate it. Thank you.”

“Thank you so much!!!!! Everything is soooo greatly appreciated more than words can express. Thank you again!!!!”

Board of Directors


Ira and Barbara Smith

Executive Director

Sharon Martens


Barbara Howland

Vice President

Cathy Waters


John Fallon


Priscilla Gannon


Mary E. Bassett (Corporate Counsel)
Mike Broderick
Mike Coutu
Tracey Guth
Beth Neeley-Kubacki
Mimi Deck Rutledge
James Thompson
Audrey Trieschman
Philip vanderWilden

Directors Emeriti

James Eldridge
Lee Mapletoft
Mark Sigman


Executive Director

Sharon Martens

Volunteer Program Director

Brigid Bieber

Volunteer Coordinator

Laura Scirocco

Inventory Coordinator

Mike Liuzzo

Household Goods Annual Reports

Read and download our most recent Annual Reports.