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Cindy Hodnett

Support grows for charity to help ailing kids with furniture makeovers

ATLANTA — What a difference a year makes!

Shortly before the High Point Market last fall, Holly Ranney, buyer-product development for Rooms To Go Kids & Teens, sat down with Furniture/Today to talk about her new nonprofit initiative, Sunshine on a Ranney Day. A 501(c)3 charity that does dream room makeovers for children with chronic or long-term illness, Ranney's project was just getting off the ground, and she was spending her non-RTG time trying to develop the connections that would allow Sunshine on a Ranney Day to grow.

 Image of Holly RanneyHolly Ranney

Fast forward to post-High Point Market fall 2013. Today, Ranney is busy preparing for the inaugural Evening of Sunshine gala in Atlanta on Nov. 16, and the support for her charity has exploded.

"This is our first gala, and our goal is to raise $200,000," Ranney said. "We want to make it an annual event and we want people involved with the organization to come and see our growth. In our first year, we helped seven families. Our 2014 goal is to do at least one a month, with a minimum of 12. And of course, the more money we have in the account, the more families we can help."

SOARD's first room makeover was for Mathew Majka, an 11-year-old diagnosed with a brain tumor in April 2011. Ranney and her group of volunteers, including her husband, Peter Ranney, created a dream military bunker bedroom for Mathew, a project that took on additional significance when Majka died in early August.

"Mathew passed away in his military room, and he wanted to be in there," Ranney says. "At his memorial service, there were tons of Air Force guys that came to the service, and the first thing that the preacher said was that all Mathew talked about was his room. That was when we realized this was a calling for us."

Ranney's connection with Rooms To Go provides her with access to the latest products in kids' furnishings. She said that the company has given her "incredible support."

"My job was basically what gave me the relationships to start this charity," Ranney said. "The industry is so supportive. I don't even have to ask them to donate. I just say, ‘This is what I'm looking for,' and it appears.

"There is so much cool kids' furniture out there now, and I have behind-the-scenes info about what we're working on," she adds. "We've used products for these kids that haven't made it to the retail floor yet! There are tons of resources in this industry and everyone has been willing to help."

The Evening of Sunshine gala will include dinner, silent and live auctions and "lots of fun surprises," according to Ranney. Limited sponsorships are available, and she also hopes increased awareness will encourage more industry participation.

"Sunshine for a Ranney Day is totally separate from Rooms To Go, and we're open to anyone in the industry who wants to be part of our growth," Ranney said. "We're receiving hundreds of applications from across the U.S. and we want to continue to expand so we can help more children during a tough time."

Information on the charity and the Nov. 16 event is available on the website

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