Whether people are transitioning from situations of abuse, homelessness, war, unemployment or just struggling to establish a home, Home Again Furniture Bank is there to help
The movement of furniture banks originated in the United States, and swiftly moved into Canada. Furniture banks are registered charities, non-profit organizations involving gently used furniture being donated to those who are struggling financially and are in need of home furnishings.
Home Again Furniture Bank is a Newfoundland and Labrador based furniture bank, serving the Northeast Avalon region. Whether people are transitioning from situations of abuse, homelessness, prison, war, unemployment or just struggling to establish a home, Home Again is there to help.
Local Furniture Bank
Partnering with over 35 different agencies and organizations, Home Again has delivered to more than 600 households. The Newfoundland Herald caught up with Maureen Lymburner, the director of development.
“About three years ago, myself and Amy Tulk, a colleague and a friend of mine, were involved with assisting a lot of the Jamaican licensed practical nurses that Eastern Health had brought over to work in the long-term care facility,” Lymburner explained.
“One thing led to another. We happened to befriend these individuals and developed a system for finding furniture, and then started receiving messages from local people saying you know, I’m eight months pregnant, I’m sleeping on the floor, I have nothing for my baby, I heard you guys are delivering furniture, can you help me? We said you know what, this town needs a furniture bank.
“We were put in contact with a group based in Mount Pearl, the Parish of the Ascension, who had access to research that had been done over a period of years. The needs assessment had already been done, saying not surprisingly that there was a great need for a furniture bank.”
A Win, Win
A furniture bank is beneficial for both the recipients and the donors. Obviously, the recipient is in need of the gently used furniture, and the donor is making a positive environment impact, while not having to throw away perfectly good furniture.
“Our furniture donors, a lot of them are at their wits’ end not knowing. They don’t want to throw out perfectly good furniture, but there’s not many options of what to do with it. Particularly in cases where people have passed away, or if it’s a parent going into a nursing home and leaving a house full of furniture. The kids often don’t need any of it, but they don’t want to throw it away. So, knowing that it’s going to someone who actually needs it is a huge benefit to them, and for our referral agencies too of course.”
One of the key pieces of furniture that furniture banks look out for are gently used mattresses, as they’re hard to come by. When funds allow, Home Again has even done mattress purchasing themselves. Recently, the organization was given an incredibly huge donation from Nalcor.
Thank You Nalcor
“Nalcor had put out a call for proposals back in the fall because the Bull Arm fabrication site had closed down, and they had an assortment of housewares and kitchenwares. All these community groups applied, and some were selected and got the items they requested. I checked all the boxes that are applicable for our clients, and then I got an email in January saying we’ve been selected. I asked, multiple mattresses, what do you mean? Is this 10, is it 20, is it 30?” Lymburner explained.
“Two minutes later my phone rings and it’s Nalcor. She says are you sitting down? It might be closer to 500. I wasn’t sitting for long, my colleagues had to pull me off the roof. Right now, it’s looking like the number is around 360 when you weed out the ones that aren’t appropriate. Either way, this is an absolute godsend.”
Home Again Furniture Bank is still in need of double, and larger, mattresses as all of the Nalcor donations were twin sized. They’re also greatly in need of box springs, and any other furnishings would be much appreciated.
“It’s a savings of probably around $20-$30,000. For a very new, non-profit organization that not a whole lot of people know about, that could be the difference between existing and not existing. Certainly the difference between being able to show up at someone’s door and saying hey, you have a bed to sleep on tonight. That’s huge, that’s what we’re all about.”
For more information on the organization, and how YOU can donate, visit www.homeagainfb.ca or follow their FaceBook page: Home Again Furniture Bank