We’re very sad to report that our fleet of trucks were the target of an incident of vandalism and theft this past weekend, rendering the majority of them immobile.
Our trucks are on the road Monday to Friday, collecting gently used furniture donations across the GTA, and transferring those same donations to our clients, who include individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness, women and children escaping abusive situations and refugees & newcomers to Canada.
The trucks are fundamental to the impact we have in alleviating homelessness in the GTA and diverting over 11,000 tonnes of waste from landfills. This growing impact was acknowledged only 2 weeks ago by Federal Ministers Joe Oliver and Candice Bergen, together with Mayor John Tory, who were present at our warehouse in Etobicole to announce $86 million of Federal funds for organizations like Furniture Bank to tackle the root causes of homelessness in Toronto.
What is so encouraging is the outpouring of support that has been coming through via social media, via donations and on the ground. Already, we are taking advantage of offers of support from Collins & Greig, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, 1-800-RID-OF-IT, Buy Rite Trucks Parts, Shorncliffe Disposal and Tallman Truck Centre to ensure that our clients get deliveries of their chosen furniture – items such as beds, dining sets, couches and kitchen utensils – and furniture donations can continue to be picked up to have our warehouse and showroom stocked and ready to serve clients.
Together with the inundations of support however we have also had some individuals question our service, specifically the need to charge furniture donors to pick up donated items. We are always transparent about the fact that we cannot afford to run a free pickup service and that our minimum charge is $150. This fee allows us to:
- Offer our clients items of furniture free of charge;
- Maintain, insure and run our fleet of pickup and delivery trucks;
- Pay rent on our 30,000 Sq Ft warehouse and showroom in Etobicoke where clients come and pick out items of furniture;
- Sustain a social enterprise and charity with 38 employees, many of who are youth and individuals from marginalized communities, when financial donations and grants only account for 45% of operating costs.
This fee is in line with the market rate for removal services and in fact, is more competitive because we issue a gift in kind tax receipt to all donors for the value of their furniture donation. As an example, for a donation consisting of a sofa, loveseat and armchair from the Toronto area, the pickup fee will usually amount to $200 and the tax receipt issued will be for the value of $480.
In short, we charge a pickup fee to continue to provide a sustainable community service that enabled close to 5,500 individuals and families transition out of homelessness, and over 60,000 since our inception in 1998.
So finally, we want to say thank you once again to our community of friends and supporters who are helping us get through this challenging time. Your support is ensuring families across the GTA have beds to sleep in and tables to eat on – in fact, it is helping to give our clients the dignity, security and stability associated with living in a furnished home.
If you would like to show your support through a donation, click here.