ENGLEWOOD — Joyce Criss can finally watch TV comfortably in her living room now that she has a couch to sit on.
The 33-year-old mother of seven was one of three families that received free furniture Friday from the Makeover Program at Midway Movers & Storage Inc. The Chicago-based company donated furniture from its warehouse to needy families identified by the Chicago Housing Authority.
"I cannot thank Midway Movers enough for their generosity. I truly appreciate all this furniture they gave me," Criss said as she bounced on her new red couch. "The first thing I am going to do is cook a big dinner since we now have a dining room table to eat on."
In addition to two couches and a dining room table that seats eight, Criss and her husband Charles Evans, received a wooden cabinet and five bedroom sets complete with a dresser, mattress, box spring, headboard and end tables.
The family had been without beds and other furnishings since moving into their Englewood home last September. Criss said she is renting her home in the 7300 block of South May Street using a Housing Choice Voucher and left most of her furniture at her previous residence, also in Englewood, because she could not afford movers.
"We had beds and stuff at my old place, but I could not get anyone to help us move, and I could not afford to rent a truck, so we left everything," she said.
Both Criss and Evans are unemployed and looking for a job.
"I used to do construction work until I fell down on my luck," Evans said. "But I am out here looking every day for a job. It's hard being a man and not able to provide for your family."
Their daughter, 17-year-old Ariana Dillard, said she now plans to sleep late on the weekends.
"Sleeping on the floor ain't no joke," Dillard said. "I was too embarrassed to invite any of my friends over because we did not have anywhere for them to sit. Now I can have a girls' night in my bedroom."
Her brothers, Turhan Davis, 13, and Traevion Davis, 12, both said they wouldn't miss sleeping on the floor.
Criss' family wasn't the only on surprised with furniture from Jerry Siegel, owner of Midway Movers, his 17-year-old daughter, Isabelle, and 15-year-old son, Spencer.
"It was their idea to donate furniture to needy families," Siegel said about his children. "Hopefully, we can do this again next year."
Isabelle, a junior at Deerfield High School, said she enjoys helping people.
"I don't know what I will study in college, but I do know that I like volunteering, so maybe I will become a teacher or social worker," she said.
Bobbie Childs and her son Marvin Childs also were excited about getting their home furnished.
"Oh my God, I can't believe it. God is so good," Bobbie said as movers unloaded furniture from the truck. "I don't know where I am going to put all this stuff."
Indeed, Childs, like Criss, received several items for her West Pullman home, including a king-size bedroom set, a fireplace, two cocktail tables, two couches, a wooden cabinet and a leather reclining chair with a footrest.
Marvin was the first to test the reclining chair.
"I always wanted to have my feet up while watching TV. Bring on the Super Bowl," he said.
And Jimmy Givens, who lives in a senior citizens' home in East Village, also received some furniture.
"He did not get much because his apartment was small, but he did get a few items to make life more comfortable for him," Siegel said.