Published by Veronica Zaretski
Here at Furniture Bank, our services and operations revolve around clients. Nothing beats meeting a client for the first time and helping them pick out items that will later be used to make their empty apartment or house a home. Many people who come through our doors have seen hard times, and have taken big leaps to improve their lives. Often the last step in that process is to come to Furniture Bank. Clients often come to us after all the work to rebuild their lives is complete, whether it’s rebuilding a career, taking care of a family, or creating a new community.
The work is empowering, and Sandra, our Client Services Coordinator, can speak to that as a staff member who engages clients daily. Sandra recalls one specific client who came in to Furniture Bank with an inspiring story. A young single mother arrived with her one year old recently to find new articles to furnish her home. She left with a delivery order of 10 items, but her cushions were left behind. Not being able to find the location, she got lost, but was picked up by our Volunteer Coordinator, Joe, who drove her to our location at 25 Connell Court. When she came back she revealed that she was really hoping for a sectional for her and her child. The sectional that she desired would give her more sitting space to play with her small child and a place in her apartment for both of them to rest after a long day. With her cushions returned, we were able to locate the sectional that she really wanted and deliver it to her home. “She was just really grateful and a lovely person,” Sandra said.
Sandra explained that there are about 15-20 clients on average who come in for an appointment a day, with appointments running from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on weekdays, and 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Each client is assisted by Showroom Guides – our team of volunteers extraordinaire who help clients as needed in picking out furniture tailored to their needs and family size, as well as navigating around the Showroom.
Our volunteer Showroom Guides can change someone’s day with warmth and kindness. And as anyone who has experience in the non-profit sector knows, volunteers are essential to non-profits. As we’re always on the lookout for new volunteers, Sandra outlined a few key qualities that are essential for a volunteer at Furniture Bank– compassion, good intuition, non-judgmental individuals who are respectful and culturally-sensitive, and those who strive to positive leaders in their community. “You need to learn to speak to someone in their language, to build a rapport, to make folks feel comfortable,” Sandra said.
Often volunteers will start helping at Furniture Bank and soon realize that the role itself is so much more than just helping someone pick furniture, she explained. It’s a combination of being able to prioritize tasks to find the best furniture that fit the client and the size of their family, having a good deal of empathy, and being able to lead positive interactions between individuals.
We can’t wait to meet the next batch of volunteers who will help us achieve these goals, and make positive changes in our community.
Will this be you?
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Furniture Bank, please call Joe Di Paolo at 416. 934.1229 ext 712, or fill out this form.