Nov 18, 2020

Tony's story

“Shelter at home” orders are impacting all Oregon families, but some more than others.

“We have literally nothing."  Tony came to Community Warehouse on a rainy November afternoon to receive housewares for his empty apartment. As the only furniture bank in the region, Community Warehouse is a vital resource for people like Tony. After leaving prison, he needed beds for his kids, ages 15, 12, and 8. "We’d be moving in right now with just blankets and pillows. So right now this is huge."

Serving families has been challenging in 2020, as Community Warehouse faced several interruptions. In March, COVID-19 closed CW for two weeks as we figured out how to safely give donated, gently used home goods to people who need them. Our staff developed the innovative Home2Go kit, a dresser filled with new basics , including air mattresses.We served 450 families with these kits until regular service could be restored in July.

Challenges continued. By midsummer, so many donated goods were flowing into our Warehouses again, we had to seek additional off-site storage. Delivering furnishings now requires drivers to wear masks and gloves, and they can only drop off the items inside the front door of the client’s dwellings. In September, unprecedented wildfires filled Portland skies with smoke, and the unhealthy air led to further disruptions of our services.

In spite of setbacks, CW is back to serving to 30 families a week. As Tony watched a truck being loaded with beds for his kids, he explained what a furnished home means to them: “It helps with my kid’s confidence that I can do things for them, that I can take care of them. It helps with everything. Just knowing that this part is takening care of. I can go to work now. And making sure we live life.”

With your help, Community Warehouse can continue to help more families live with dignity. Much like our resilient families, neither a pandemic, natural disaster, nor heavier workloads will get in our way.

Jul 21, 2020

How Community Warehouse Stepped Up In The Pandemic

Community Warehouse responded to the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible by closing our regular operations on March 16. The nature of our service requires close contact with used goods and people (over 2,000 unique contacts per week!), so we made this decision to protect public health until we could create a plan for modified service. 
Unfortunately, closing to the public meant losing our earned revenue (Estate Store sales and fees for service). Due to these closures and the postponing of our biggest fundraising event, we had to furlough 77% of our staff. 
In less than a week, our remaining skeleton crew formulated a plan and were back up and running with modified client services. We began providing "Home 2 Go" kits consisting of a custom-made dresser packed with brand-new, sanitized items (an air mattress, pots and pans, dishware, linens, and more) and shrink-wrapped for safety and portability. (Link for more info: https://www.communitywarehouse.org/home-2-go/)
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By April, we had provided 170 Home2Go kits to 319 neighbors in need referred by 30 partner organizations. By May, Community Warehouse was fully staffed again, and began collecting a limited list of donated items from the public to supplement the Home2Go program. Community Warehouse was asked to present our COVID-19 process and operations to the national Furniture Bank Network, due to the success of our services during this unprecedented time.
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From a case manager at the VA: Thank you so much for doing this!  My team was just talking today about what we were going to do for our vets that moved into new places right before you guys had to shut down. We rely on you guys so much! I am very glad you closed when you did (absolutely the right decision) AND, you have been missed.
 
These are difficult times for everyone. We know it's more important than ever to continue providing the comforts of home so families in need do not have to shelter in place in an empty space. 

As Community Warehouse transitions to newly modified services, your support is even more critical. There is more need in our community as families struggle to make ends meet due to COVID-19. 

There are a lot of unknowns. But at least we have a simple solution to furnishing the homes of folks in need. 

Thanks to your support, Community Warehouse will continue doing just that, today and in the future. 

Together, we'll get through this.

Here is video that tells the story of our response: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMS3YdLsrpc

Links:

Mar 26, 2020

Now More Than Ever - Community Warehouse COVID-19/Coronavirus Update

Mother and child in Warehouse
Mother and child in Warehouse

It's March 24, 2020. In these unprecedented times, we are all struggling to understand how best to protect ourselves, our families, and our community. 

The very nature of our service requires close contact with objects and people. In order to protect public health and safety, as of March 17, 2020, we've had to close to the public..

Local shelters are trying to move people into housing as quickly as possible to protect their health and free up beds. But Community Warehouse isn't able to provide the essential items needed to get families off the floor.

We are pivoting to come up with strategies that will allow us to reopen with modified community services addressing additional health and safety needs of our community including proper sanitation, portability, and reduced contact.

Before this crisis, we provided furnishings to 60 families a week. The need has not decreased with our closure. Our closure means those families are being asked to stay put in empty spaces.

We are doing all we can to get back to filling those empty spaces and helping our community stay safe in this turbulent time. Thank you for your support. 

 
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