What makes a house a home?
Perhaps, memories of crazy family reunions around the dining table, snuggling up on the couch watching movies, framed photos trailing the hallways of loved ones and good times. But suppose all you had were stark, white walls surrounding you. No inspiration, no colour, just you in an unnamed space. That sense of emptiness can manifest itself literally into your emotions and make one feel undervalued and hopeless. A house gives you shelter, a home gives you a sanctuary.
Fortunately, there is an organization in Toronto which is on a mission to eradicate those white-wall blues and introduce the sense of integrity and encouragement of a home.
Furniture Bank is a place where gently used items such as desks, beds and sofas are donated to people in the city who demonstrate a need, such as, the formerly homeless or new immigrants. Clients are referred to Furniture Bank via over 70 partner agencies within the GTA. Furniture Bank Program Manager, Kam Grewal, explained to us how the exchange works:
“A client comes in for their scheduled appointment and is accompanied by one of our volunteer Showroom Guides who helps the client select all of the items they need. They receive their entire order within a week by delivery or within a day by their own transportation. The client gives new life and purpose to their recycled furniture and household goods.”
The majority of those goods are donated by individuals/families and the rest are courtesy of their community partners including, Sleep Country Canada, Indigo and Habitat for Humanity. Every piece is inspected and cleaned to ensure it is suitable to give away. Not to mention, “All donors receive a tax-receipt for their furniture donations, which are based on the fair market value of each furniture item.” says Kam.
They not only help provide a renewed start for those in need, they promote socially responsible practices. “With donations, we are able to repurpose furniture and household goods and therefore, divert these commodities from going into landfills.” explains Kam. In 2012 alone, they diverted 1,526 metric tonnes of solid waste from landfill sites. “A metric tonne of waste is the equivalent of approximately 14 couches. Imagine that in a green space.”
It is something that is easily taken for granted but a furnished home provides a sense of empowerment, a sense of security and a place to live rather than a place to merely exist.
For more info: furniturebank.org
Photography by Alan Flores
Posted by Samira Zia Rehman
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