WHAT DONATIONS MEAN TO WOMEN & CHILDREN FLEEING ABUSE
Having furniture wasn’t just a luxury, it was a necessity. I had to prove that I had a home that was suitable for my child and her well being.
I am sure my story is not that uncommon, but at the time I felt very isolated and alone.
As a young mother of a three year old, I separated from my husband of five years. Our relationship had become very abusive and unhealthy, and once I left it became increasingly hostile. Luckily, I was able to receive housing on an expedited basis, but I did not have the financial capacity to buy furniture. I didn’t have the work experience to find a job as I had been a stay-at-home mother. And I didn’t have any education credentials. I was very vulnerable and I needed help.
I felt bad about having to access housing and welfare assistance, and I felt like many decisions were being made for me at that time. I was just finishing the Academic Bridging Program at the University of Toronto when all of this was happening.
Because I was leaving a hostile environment and the hostility towards me continued after the separation, having furniture wasn’t just a luxury, it was a necessity. I had to prove that I had a home that was suitable for my child and her well being. I needed furniture – and the furniture bank – so that I would be able to have a bed for my child and a dresser drawer to store her clothes.
When your parenting is under scrutiny and when you’re trying to provide a stable and warm home for your child, you have to have furniture. It’s one of those things we take for granted until we are sitting in an empty room without it. And for me as a university student, I really needed a desk to study at, a place to store my books. It’s pretty hard to study on a bare floor and I couldn’t just get up and go to the library with a toddler.
It’s been several years since I went to Furniture Bank to receive furniture. I graduated with my Honours Bachelor of Arts, started my Masters, and found a meaningful career. Would I have been able to do that without furniture and the Furniture Bank? Maybe, maybe not… But it sure is nice to have support creating your home, having a bed for your daughter, and the dignity in choosing your own furniture to set you up for the future.