Just another day at a furniture bank

We are often asked by people who haven’t heard about Furniture Bank:

  • what is a Furniture Bank?
  • why do Furniture Banks matter?
  • how does a Furniture Bank really impact people?
  • what real difference does furniture make in a person’s life?

We were fortunate enough to have one of our amazing volunteers this week capture their experience helping a client, showing just how important furniture is in someone’s life.

I think you will agree this summarizes in a single story why we do what we do, why financial and furniture donations are always needed and why we are bringing back our Chair Affair to raise awareness and support our goal of expanding our social enterprise to be able to service more of Ontario and ultimately support Furniture Bank’s across Canada.

From a Furniture Bank Volunteer:

I had a client this week that truly touched my heart…

She was the last client of the morning at Furniture Bank. After I called out her name she came across the reception area. In her early twenties, she had short cropped hair, sparkling eyes behind the glasses and a beautiful smile.  She was carrying a bag and I suggested that she might like to leave it on one of the volunteer chairs where it would be safe. She placed it on the chair and off we went “to shop”. She was quite open about the fact that she had been homeless for a year and a half and had nothing in her new home. The keys had been in her possession for a week but as she had nothing she was not yet living there.

There were very few things on her wish list. The first was a bed. Unfortunately, we did not have any double mattress/box spring combinations on the floor and she reluctantly said, “Well, I guess I’ll take a single”. Don, our guardian angel of the morning, overheard the conversation and saw this young woman and told her, “No, don’t you ever settle. If you want something you ask.”  And, as only Don can, he found her a double mattress, box spring and bed frame. Elated, we went off to the dresser area. She spotted a low bookshelf which she felt would serve her needs. In the living area we found a loveseat and a lamp. In housewares we found some plastic cups, cutlery and two pots. As she said, “I have little money and I think I would like to buy brand new dishes.” But she did agree to choose two pretty cups with saucers.

Over and over again she expressed how surprised she was that she had so many choices. She never knew that the Furniture Bank would have lamps or decorative items. But, as she also repeated, she had been so long without a place, she didn’t want to take too many things until she was sure she wanted them.

Just another day at the Furniture Bank, right ?

Oh, did I mention …

she was in a wheelchair.

Oh, did I mention….

the bag she carried contained all of her possessions.

Oh, did I mention …

she placed the bag on the chair using her mouth because she had limited use of her hands and fingers.

Oh, did I mention …

that she chose the bookshelf for her clothes  because the dresser drawers were too difficult for her to open.

Oh, did I mention…

that the cutlery we found with the plastic handles would be better because they were easier to carry in her mouth.

Oh, did I mention…

that the loveseat she selected , “Not because I’ll ever be able to sit in it”,  was for , ”Maybe, someday I’ll have a friend who will want to come over and watch a movie.”

Oh, did I mention …

she had been on the streets for a year and a half, sometimes staying in a shelter but usually on the street on her own.

Oh, did I mention …

that she had to wait so long because housing for the disabled takes even longer to find.

Oh, did I mention…

that when she paid the delivery bill, Andrea helped her hold the pen in her mouth so she could sign.

Oh, did I mention …

She is the reason that the Furniture Bank exists. She is the reason why volunteers give their time.  

…and SHE is the reason we’re having a Chair Affair.

This amazing story is just 1 example of the tens of thousands of individuals and families the Furniture Bank has supported over the last 16 years.

Furniture  Bank helps restore hope, dignity and stability in the Greater Toronto Area by redistributing gently-used donated furniture to people across the region in need. We have thousands of families, furniture store partners and local community groups actively donating a steady source of furniture which would otherwise end up in the dump or sold at a loss. We serve people who have recently transitioned out of homelessness, women and children escaping abusive situations, refugees and new comers to Canada all who are trying to rebuild their lives in our community. In the process we help turn an empty space into a true home with a kitchen table to enjoy meals, a comfortable space to share stories and beds for safe sweet dreams.

Related Articles

Three Projects in Three Months … We Can Do This!

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section” _builder_version=”3.22″ background_color=”#ffffff” custom_padding=”16px||0px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”||0px|” transparent_background=”off” padding_mobile=”on” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on”][et_pb_row padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” custom_padding=”||0px|” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″…