Why Furniture Banks Are So Darn Important

by Rena Satre Meloy

For many of us, furnishings play a powerful yet nearly invisible role in our lives. When we wake up in the morning, we have a comfy bed to roll out of and a soft rug to catch our warm toes, cushioning them from the chilly floor. We have our favorite mug awaiting a warm cup of coffee or tea in the kitchen, and our dining table and chairs are always loyal to our morning breakfast ritual.

IMAGE_Blog-Post-#1It’s hard to imagine what our homes would look like completely empty. How would you feel with nowhere to sit, with no place for your children to finish homework, with no pots or pans to cook a meal or a single lamp to switch on at night? “Home” means something a little different for everyone, but most would agree that it’s one of the most comforting words there is.

The idea of Community Warehouse is a simple yet incredibly powerful one: household furnishings you no longer need can help create a home for someone else in your community. We’re the only local, nonprofit furniture bank in this region that collects donated household goods and furnishings and connects them directly to neighbors in need.

Through locations in Portland and Tualatin and partnerships with 200 social service agencies, public schools and faith communities, we help 50+ families every week stabilize their lives by providing them with the basics that turn their empty housing into more comfortable, functional homes. A family can receive beds, a kitchen table and chairs, a dresser, sofa, living room furniture, lamps, items for cooking and linens — all in a single visit.

A comfortable home is vital to well-being, especially for people who have been through a crisis.

Social Service agencies all over the nation work tirelessly to provide families with housing, clothing, food, healthcare. We provide the furniture to fill those empty homes, dressers to hold those clothes, utensils to cook the food, dining tables to sit and share meals at, mattresses and bedding so parents and their children can get a good night’s rest.

Furniture banks a key part of this puzzle. Comfortable, functional living spaces improve people’s daily quality of life immensely, and help folks create stronger home foundations so they can truly get back on their feet and become self-sufficient community members. Community Warehouse is one of 92 furniture banks in the United States and Canada.

Here in the greater Portland area, we serve more than 7,000 people each year. We rely solely on donations from our community (individuals and businesses) to meet this need. If you have extra household goods or furnishings, please consider giving them to the Warehouse. We will put your used goods to good use! We just ask that your items are gently-used and in clean, working condition.

Drop items off at our two locations in Northeast Portland or Tualatin, or request a pick-up online.

From the Author:

I began working at Community Warehouse nearly six years ago, and not a day has passed that I haven’t taken a moment to appreciate the seemingly “small” yet utterly essential items that allow me to function, to feel human, and to live with a sense of well-being and ease in my life. One of my good friends once said, “You know, sometimes it’s the small things that make you realize there are no small things.”

He has never been more right.

It’s amazing how much work can be accomplished by so few when the hearts are dedicated. You guys are the real deal.

Jane Green

Community Advocate