Learn More About Furniture Banks
Furniture banks are registered charities, not-for-profit organizations or social enterprises designed to provide gently used household furnishings to individuals and families in need, at little or no cost. The movement, which originated in the United States, is now firmly established and continuing to gain momentum across North America. The basic model involves gently used furniture being donated by people who no longer use it, and transferred to those who are struggling financially to furnish their own homes. Usually, a network of community agencies ensures that the right people get access to the furniture. It’s a cycle of giving and helping, providing the most vulnerable individuals in society the means to create a true home.
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What happens at Furniture Bank everyday?
Who do furniture banks support?
The families served by furniture banks include the previously homeless, unemployed and working poor, battered women and children in retreat, immigrants, individuals with mental or physical disabilities, victims of fire, robbery, and natural disasters, etc.
They have housing, but are faced with the harsh reality that their “home” is empty or severely under-furnished – without beds for the children, a table, chairs and dishes to share meals, or even a sofa to sit on and relax.
After basic expenses such as rent, utilities, food and clothing are paid, there’s little if anything left for the common household furnishings we all take for granted.
Furniture banks provide more than furniture and household items to recipients. We provide dignity. Not just dignity and pride in one’s home, but the dignity of choice.
Where does the furniture come from?
All furniture donations received will be in good, usable condition, allowing items to be used as intended and loved by furniture recipients.
In addition, rather than merely handing over a pre-selected list of furniture items; where possible, furniture banks allow recipients to choose their own furniture. As such many furniture banks operate a showroom, inviting clients to browse the furniture on offer and select items that suit their style and tastes.
In order to provide an efficient service, many furniture banks provide a pickup and delivery service. Within a set radius and for a fee, furniture donors can request their donations be picked up by their chosen furniture bank.
Generally, furniture donors receive a charitable tax receipt for the value of their furniture donation.
Furniture banks are also active recyclers, working with city authorities and private organizations to divert as much waste from landfills as possible.
Want to start or improve your furniture bank?
The Learning Center is a growing collection of research, case studies, checklists, stories, visuals, best practices, guides, and how to operate a furniture bank program. Free for the online furniture bank network community.