Furniture Bank began in 1998 with the belief that a sense of pride, comfort, and security – in short, a sense of home – are critical ingredients for people to transition out of lives of homelessness, hopelessness or passivity. That first year we accepted 1,370 donated items of furniture and helped 496 people create a home.
After a few years, we realized that if we were to be successful in our goal of ensuring that everyone in the GTA had a bed to sleep on at night, we needed an alternative method to attract gently used furniture. The nature of modern life is such that not everyone has the time or the ability to transport large items of furniture across the city to our facility.
In 2004, we launched our furniture pickup service. The service consisted of a team of movers who drive one of our trucks to your home to remove your gently used furniture and transport the items back to our facility. Those items are then set up in our showroom where we give our clients (like Martin) the dignity of choosing those items suited to their style and home.
Every year since the launch of our pickup service has seen an increase in the number of furniture donations received by us. In 2014, we received 45,525 items of furniture, which helped to create furnished homes for 5,500 people.
Our pickup service is not free. The fee, based on the volume of items we are picking up and their location, is set at a level that ensures we can run the service sustainably and in the pursuit of our goal: that everyone transitioning out of homeless and displacement has access to free furniture.
Specifically, the pickup fee allows us to:
- Operate a professional furniture removal service;
- Maintain, insure and run a fleet of 7 trucks;
- Employ over 20 drivers and helpers to remove the items directly from your home and transport them to our warehouse;
- Pay rent on our 30,000 Sq Ft facility in Etobicoke;
- Provide free furniture to the most vulnerable members of our community;
- Provide a subsidy to the delivery costs of moving the furniture to a family in need;
- Sustain a charity with 40 employees that is only partly funded by financial donations and grants.
The fee is in line with the market rate for removal services and we issue a gift in kind tax receipt to you for the value of your furniture. Of course, our pickup service is optional – if you can bring your furniture to our warehouse in Etobicoke, we will accept your furniture donations at no cost to you and still give you the tax receipt.
In short, we charge a pickup fee to continue to provide a sustainable community service that has given over 60,000 formerly homeless and displaced individuals a new start in life. We estimate that each year there are at least 20,000 households that require our services – so we have some way to go to reach our goal. But you can be sure that your furniture and, if you engage our pickup service, the service fee you pay, goes directly to helping us reach each and everyone of these families.
Feel free to reach out to us in the comments below or by email if you have any more questions about Furniture Bank’s pickup service.