Six months ago, we started Redwood Furniture Bank.
Back in June, we put some excellent partnerships and supports in place, secured some warehouse space, and started asking for furniture donations. Soon, we were ready to start sending furniture back out the door to help people.
That first visit with a referred client was so exciting for us! We had set up an online furniture inventory gallery so we were able to meet with the young woman over her lunch break at work and let her pick her own furniture. The warehouse got a list of what she had picked and we were able to get it all ready for our partners at Jeff's Junk to deliver.
Since that first delivery, there have been lots of lessons learned, a few changes as we work out the kinks, and lots of things to celebrate!
Redwood Furniture Bank is now Barrie Furniture Bank, powered by Redwood Park Communities.
First of all, we should tell you about the name change!
In order to better communicate that we are serving the whole community, and to avoid some confusion that was coming up, the furniture bank has a new name, but it is still operated by us.
We has a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
In October things were really getting going, so we celebrated with a little ribbon cutting ceremony and got a bit of press to help increase furniture donations.
Big Gift from Gals That Give
In November, Rhonda, Anna, and Thandi had the chance to present to the Gals That Give group for the chance to receive $10,000.
In just 5 minutes, they told those gals all about how we create safe, affordable, hopeful housing in supportive community over here at Redwood, and how that had led us to starting a furniture bank. They told them about some of the impacts of furniture poverty, like social exclusion, physical and mental distress, strains on family relationships, and an increased likelihood of experiencing or re-experiencing homelessness. Sometimes, a lack of furniture even prevents children from coming home to their parents from foster care.
They also shared some of the comments we receive on the furniture bank referral forms:
And then they asked the Gals That Give to give us the $10,000 so that we can help individuals like these, who need furniture but don't qualify for any of the various funding options available. And those gals said YES, so we have started our own little fund so we won't have to turn anyone away!
We have other big plans for our little furniture bank that could, and we are very motivated by the ways we have already seen your donated furniture changes lives! Recently Rhonda and the team took some extra pieces to an apartment where some of the selected furniture hadn't fit through the door (because learning). When they arrived, the kiddos were doing a thanksgiving craft at the kitchen table, and the bookshelves we had dropped off earlier were outfitted with books, knick-knacks, and family pictures.
An empty apartment, some furniture chosen by the family, and a whole lot of love and intention had made a safe, affordable, hopeful home.
Which of course, is exactly the point.
Stay tuned for more furniture bank updates, we are just getting started!