From Garbage To #Hashtag To Community Bonding: The Story Of #TheCouch


The Couch had sat there, abandoned in the grueling Florida sun, for weeks. On the side of the road, it unceremoniously sat awaiting an unsure fate. Likely abandoned during a move to find a new home, there it remained, an oddly placed piece of living room furniture for the highway passersby of West Melbourne and Palm Bay, Florida.

Until it became so much more. Over time, people slowly began adding other living room accouterments, perhaps to make the couch feel less lonely. This persisted into end tables, record players, throw pillows, drapes, books, rugs, chairs, truly a full living room.

It gained followers in the community, had its own Facebook page with some 6,000 followers, and, of course, it’s own hashtag: #TheCouch. It went on to become viral when a local politician did a tongue-in-cheek interview on the couch and, later, when a dinosaur costume-clad mother and her two children visited the couch. It was the two children who came up with the idea to make the strange spot a place to donate food for the needy.

Over 400 pounds of donated food collected around the couch and would later be given to a local shelter. The couch itself, after gaining so much attention, became a safety concern for the police in the community. The outdoor living room would have to be taken down. The couch, however, would not be discarded. It was adopted and thoroughly cleaned, by local resident Summer Burch.

“It started out as trash, a piece of trash. But with a little love, it became something beautiful,” said Burch.

Upon becoming a community centerpiece, the couch is being preserved by Burch for future charity events and possibly a local parade float.

“The biggest thing we learned, the biggest thing it showed us, is that regardless of people’s backgrounds, race, sex, whatever, that we can still find a common bond. All that from a simple couch,” Burch reflected on the couch moving an entire community to band together.

About 33% of renters move every year. Movers and moving companies have seen a lot of discarded property in the course of living space transfers, but very few gain the positive attention that this one little couch did. Remarkable what roadside waste can bring to the table. Or, shall we say, bring to the couch?

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