There are so many exciting things happening with the Furniture Bank these days that it warrants a whole blog post!

But first, a thank you. Two big funding approvals this year have allowed for this growth to meet the need in our community: a 3-year Poverty Reduction Collaboration Grant from United Way Simcoe Muskoka, and a capital grant we received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation at the end of 2019. That grant was for a vehicle for our Community Support Team and then also a cargo van and special trailer for the Furniture Bank. So thank you to both the Ontario Trillium Foundation and United Way Simcoe Muskoka for your support!
We’re Moving
The Furniture Bank has been bursting at the seams for a few months now, and so we are very excited to have secured some new warehouse space. 
This new warehouse is almost 35,000 square feet. We’ll be using about 15,000 sq ft and allows for more storage, some space to display furniture, dedicated Upcycling space, some office, meeting, and maintenance space for Redwood. Our fantastic pick up and delivery partners Jeff’s Junk are going to be moving with us, and we have a couple of other sublease options that are going to offset the costs.

We have the keys now, and we’ll be doing some renos and energy efficiency upgrades over the next month or two, with plans to move in January 1, 2021.

Our New Manager
We are thrilled to have Anna Keenan join our team as Furniture Bank Manager as a result of the United Way funding. Anna will be sharing her story in a future blog post, but for now, we’ll just say that Anna has a particular mix of experience, skills, and passion that make her the perfect person for this role. 

Anna’s already working to develop commercial partnerships to ensure we always have mattresses to complete household “kits” of the furniture that is donated, and planning the next phase of our Upcycling program. 

Together, Anna and Thandi are doing a wonderful job connecting households in need with furniture to help alleviate furniture poverty in our community, and all the stresses and strains that come with it.

Bedbug Remediation
One of the big things in used-furniture-land that no one likes to talk about is bedbugs: the issue of potential bedbugs with furniture that is donated, and also how often entire households of furniture are thrown out due to bedbugs. 

What if that could all be avoided?

As it turns out, you can spray for bedbugs, but the far more effective approach is through a heat treatment. And, you can actually outfit a trailer with these special bedbug cookers so that furniture can get heat-treated when it’s picked up, or, that trailer can be brought onsite to a house that has had bedbugs and the furniture can be treated right there and reused. This, friends, means that the furniture we provide can be guaranteed bug-free AND it diverts furniture from landfills. It also creates a revenue stream for the Furniture Bank, providing a valuable service for landlords and housing providers. 

The Ontario Trillium Fund recognized the many ways that this type of mobile heat treatment unit would benefit our community, so they generously funded the purchase of this trailer. It has been delayed due to COVID-19, but it is in production right now, and we look forward to taking it for a spin!

Want to get involved?
Are you as jazzed as we are about the ways the Furniture Bank is helping people? There are a few ways you can get involved:

  • Furniture Donations – for a fee, we’ll arrange pick up of your gently used furniture, and you get a charitable tax receipt for your donation.
  • Financial Donations – you can support the Furniture Bank with a financial donation.
  • Sign up as a volunteer – in the new space, we will have more volunteer opportunities. Sign up now to get notified when these come up!

October was our busiest month yet, delivering our 1000th piece of furniture as one of the 20 deliveries that went out the door to help houses become homes. Stay tuned for more Furniture Bank excitement! 

Thank you for donating, volunteering, sharing social media posts, to get the word out. Together, those small acts add up to a big difference for a lot of people in our community.

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