A future with Toronto’s Furniture Bank
Toronto’s famous Furniture Bank celebrates 20 years of giving people a sense of home. Founded in 1998, Furniture Bank provides gently used furniture and household goods to people who have recently transitioned out of homelessness, women and children escaping abusive situations, refugees and newcomers to Canada.
“2018 marks Furniture Bank’s 20th Year of community service,” says executive director Dan Kershaw. “Over the years, we have built up partnerships with a growing list of social service agencies and shelters who play a critical role in ensuring anyone in need of a fresh start is invited to our showroom, and given the dignity of choosing the items of furniture they would like to have in their homes. The Furniture Bank movement is one of empowerment.”
Founded in 1998, Sister Anne Schenck was inspired by her visits to many clients who did not have adequate furniture and necessities which led to the development of the Furniture Bank, an organization that facilitates the transfer of furniture and necessities from individuals disposing of items to homes in need of them.
“I was asked by Catholic Immigration Services to visit one of their clients because they had no furniture,” said Sister Anne Schenck. “When I arrived, I found a home furnished with a milk crate used as a table, and a pot which the dinner was cooked and served in. The residents ate and slept on the floor. On my way home I came upon a sofa that had been left out on the curb for disposal. This led to the creation of Furniture Bank!”
With the help of numerous volunteers, countless hours of pro-bono work and financial donations, small and large, Sister Anne formally incorporated Furniture Bank as a charity in 1998.
From its humble beginnings, Furniture Bank has served over 10,400 individuals in 2017, over 3,800 of which were children, by way of over 1,500 tonnes of furniture and housewares much of which would have otherwise ended up in landfill. For a pickup fee that helps to cover costs, Furniture Bank comes to your home and removes furniture and other items that you no longer need. Donated items are provided to people most in need who are referred by over 80 social service agencies in Toronto to turn an empty space into a true home.