Our mission is to connect essential furnishings to neighbors in need through unique community partnerships, creating stronger home foundations and brighter futures for all.
What We Do
We’re your friendly local furniture bank, serving the Portland area for the past 20 years. How does a furniture bank work? In a nutshell, we collect donated home goods, and work with social service agencies to get those goods in the hands of those who need it most.
The stuff you no longer need becomes the solution for a family in need. Pretty simple, huh? At Community Warehouse, it’s the simple stuff – the extra dishes, towels, beds, and more – that changes lives.
A Brief History
It took a community-wide collaborative effort to create a Portland area furniture bank.
Community Warehouse’s origins trace back to the 1990s “Operation Exodus,” during which the American Jewish community committed to assistance for thousands of former Soviet Union Jews. In Portland, Jewish Family and Child Service (JFCS) drew volunteers into the Russian Resettlement program and started the Portland Community Warehouse, a program to collect donated home furnishings for refugee families.
Roz Babener, the early volunteer coordinator, noted:
“The incoming families had nothing, and when they saw their apartments filled with tables and chairs and dishes and beds, their expression of appreciation brought tears to your eyes.”
Within several years, a dilemma appeared. Although the refugee arrivals had diminished, and JFCS needed to return its focus to the Jewish community, donations of household furnishings kept pouring in, and agencies outside of JFCS were requesting furniture for their clients.
Volunteer Roz Babener organized a small group of volunteers to help tap resources in the community and formalize the Warehouse as a 501c3 nonprofit.
In 2001, Community Warehouse was established to meet the needs of a broader constituency, including those transitioning from homelessness, immigrants and refugees, survivors of domestic violence, veterans, children, individuals with developmental or physical disabilities, and other neighbors in need.
In those initial years, the Warehouse moved from borrowed space at the YWCA to rented spaces in SE Portland, NW, and North Portland.
In 2007, Community Warehouse purchased its first truck for pick up donations. The Estate Store social enterprise opened weekly sales of antiques and collectibles to provide consistent operating revenue.
After a 2009 capital campaign, the organization purchased the building on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Recognizing the need to expand furniture bank services to Washington and Clackamas counties, Community Warehouse purchased a second building in Tualatin in 2012.
Community Warehouse now engages 200+ partner agencies to serve more than 7,500 individuals every year. Community Warehouse is currently the main resource in NW Oregon and SW Washington for low-income individuals and families seeking essential household furnishings. We engage 25 paid staff and hundreds of active volunteers.
Our founders continue to be involved in the daily activities and continued growth of the agency.
Together We Have Enough: Our Vision for the Future
Strategic Plan, 2018-2022
We’re here to tell a hopeful story. About a problem we can solve.
No home in our community should be empty. When it comes to furnishings, there are enough. And when it comes to people who care about their neighbors, there are more than enough.