Volunteers Making a Difference at Furniture Bank

Annalee Sawiak, Chief Sustainability Officer at Furniture Bank, driving sustainability and expansion.

Published by Veronica Zaretski

Furniture Bank is lucky to have a great number of volunteers to work with throughout the year. With over 600 volunteers donating over 11,000 hours, from both corporate groups and individual volunteers who seek us out – we are honoured to work with such a dedicated bunch.

Furniture Bank wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for the hard work and daily compassion of volunteers. We talked to Scarlett and Keran, about their experience as volunteers and why they love being involved with Furniture Bank.

Scarlett:

I started volunteering this summer, in July. I read about Furniture Bank in the newspaper a few years ago, and volunteering here seemed like a good idea. I ended up having coffee with a friend, and her church group volunteered here, and I decided that this would be a good time to start volunteering as well.

I’m a people’s person, and as a retired teacher, I was looking for an opportunity to give back. From the start I thought that this was a fantastic organization. I like meeting different people, and in my role at Furniture Bank, I meet new people every day. Everyone that comes through here has a great sense of humour, and most of our clients feel really grateful for the services that we provide.

For me, one of my first clients was especially memorable. He was a gentleman who came in really grumpy and really miserable. My fellow coworker and I tried to help him and cheer him up, but at first nothing would work. First we helped him find a bed, then a dresser, and as he started to see all of the things that he was able to take home with him to furnish his place, his attitude began to change. By the end of the shift, his outlook was completely different. He had a sense of hope.

Keran:

I donated furniture and was very impressed with the people in the Call Centre, and throughout. I thought that this was an organization worth investigating. I stopped by to ask if there was volunteer opportunities and the staff were very excited to welcome me. I began volunteering here, and I’ve been doing so for over a year.

My favorite part of volunteering here is interacting with the people. The employees, the volunteers, and the clients of course – all make this a special place.

I remember specifically a young woman who came here with her daughter. They were coming out of a women’s shelter. The woman couldn’t afford a delivery of more than two pieces of furniture so two social workers offered to bring the furniture to her in their vans. It was a great example of everyone working together for the client. At the end of the day all of this comes down to the client, and how we provide service for them.

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