A group of men from Black Men United unload a truck full of furniture that would later be raffled off to deserving families outside of the 15th police district on Saturday, Feb. 11. | Shanel Romain

On Feb. 11, local clergy leaders, politicians and police officers gathered for a community giveaway ahead of the Valentine’s Day holiday. The event was sponsored by Black Men United (BMU), a national community service organization “that focuses on the restoration and rebuilding of Black communities across America under the leadership of Black Men,” according to their website.

The Valentine’s extravaganza attracted at least 300 families to the 15th police district on Saturday, Feb. 11. | Shanel Romain

The organization partnered with 29th Ward Ald. Chris Taliaferro, the nonprofit World Vision and the 15th District police district.

“We’re partnering with Black Men United to give out furniture, household items and anything that we believe the community needs,” said Taliaferro. “BMU has done this type of event for a long time and it was good to work with them and residents in the community.”

Yolaunda Reed, right, happily claims her dining room set by sitting on it alongside her mom Geneva Davis at the Valentine’s extravaganza. | Shanel Romain

During the event, community members were given raffle tickets. When their numbers were called they picked out the furniture of their choosing. The furniture was donated by World Vision. The organizers said they helped about 300 families during Saturday’s giveaway.

“I have a large family, including six children and it’s like I’m starting over in life,” said Yolaunda Reed, who received some furniture on Saturday. “I’m happy and I feel so blessed. I didn’t expect this because I never win raffles.”

A group of men from Black Men United carry a dining room table that would later be raffled off. | Shanel Romain

Sean Smith, a 30-year-old Austin resident, won a raffle and chose a dining set for his home.

“We just moved to the area and we don’t have a dining room table, so this will be perfect for my mom and siblings and I,” Smith said. “I feel great, excited and blessed. I saw the flyer on Facebook and I was praying I win something and I did.”