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Federal Task Force Brings Furniture to Hurricane-Affected Schools

GSA #10201

November 1, 2005
Contact: Mary Alice Johnson, (202) 501-1231
maryalice.johnson@gsa.gov

Washington, DC – The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) today joins with the U.S. Department of Education to announce the Furniture for Schools Task Force, a new federal initiative to identify and donate surplus furniture and other supplies for schools affected by the recent hurricanes.  The U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are also members.

"GSA is proud to be a part of this coordinated effort to help the children impacted by the recent hurricanes, by serving as the facilitator and operational manager for determining priorities and helping to identify the property available," said GSA Acting Administrator David L. Bibb.  "The task force members are already hard at work to match schools with much-needed furniture and supplies, such as desks, bookshelves and computers."

The Furniture for Schools Task Force will streamline existing interagency efforts to match the needs of schools and districts along the devastated Gulf Coast with federal surplus and excess furniture and supplies.  Property being donated under the initiative includes student and teacher desks, chairs, bookshelves, filing cabinets, tables, computers, printers and room partitions.  The task force assists both schools damaged and destroyed by the storms – mostly in Louisiana and Mississippi – and those schools hosting displaced students, including those in Alabama, Florida and Texas.

Already, the task force has arranged for nearly 1,100 desks to go to school districts in the hardest hit areas of Mississippi and Louisiana.  GSA has also identified matches in those states for chairs, room partitions and boxes of other supplies.

Schools seeking assistance should register their requests at the federal “Hurricane Help for Schools” Web site, at www.ed.gov/Katrina, which is maintained by the Department of Education.  GSA is the task force lead for matching the school needs with personal property that is classified either as surplus (unclaimed by federal agencies) or excess (not needed by a particular agency).  GSA also determines priorities of competing requests and screens school eligibility.

The task force operates under the authorization of Chapter 5 of Title 40 of the United States Code and the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

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GSA is a centralized, federal procurement, property management, policy development and information provision agency, created by Congress to improve government efficiency and help federal agencies better serve the public.  In this role, GSA acquires products and services on behalf of federal agencies; plays a key role in developing and implementing government-wide policies; provides services and solutions for the office operations of more than one million federal workers; and encourages a citizen-centric relationship with government by providing a single “point of entry” to the information and services citizens need in a timeframe they can appreciate.  This allows citizens to receive accurate, timely and consistent answers and information, and helps federal agencies better respond to citizen inquiries.