Apr 14, 2017

Why Furniture Banks are So Darn Important


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.

It’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.


Jan 17, 2017

"It felt like home."

What a year!

Through your support of Community Warehouse in 2016, you helped 7,202 neighbors in need create more comfortable, happy, and stable homes.

We wanted to share this special story from Jess, a staff member at the Warehouse:

"Last month, a young mother Annie visited the Warehouse with her infant and two children. They were rebuilding their lives after a domestic violence situation forced them into homelessness.

When we arrived at their home to deliver their furnishings, my eyes took in their completely bare kitchen and living area. The counters and laminate floors were vacant. The bedrooms were hollow. Our voices echoed in the empty rooms. I couldn't believe that Annie and her children had been living and sleeping in this space for over a week.

Our staff swiftly unloaded the truck, and as each furnishing was put in its place, I was struck by how immediately the space transformed. The echoey-empty rooms were filled with places to sit, eat, snuggle, and rest.

It felt like home.

When we left, Annie was organizing the kitchen and her little ones were tucked under blankets in their new beds. I knew that, in a matter of minutes, we had significantly improved this family’s life."

Your support truly makes a tangible difference in the lives of families in need. We're eager to lean into the new year to further this meaningful, essential work together.

With gratitude,
Anna & the Warehouse team

PS: Please don't hesitate to contact me directly if you have any questions or would like to volunteer, host a drive at your workplace, or support in another way! My email is anna@communitywarehouse.org.

Oct 20, 2016

My heart fills with joy...

Warehouse staff wrote Haikus at our last meeting!
Warehouse staff wrote Haikus at our last meeting!

I'm reflecting this morning on how meaningful our work is, and how grateful I am for each of our donors and your role in helping the Warehouse be better each day.

I was in Tualatin yesterday morning and was impressed by the full Warehouse, our rock-star crew of staff and volunteers, and the beautiful store. When I returned to the Portland Warehouse in the afternoon, I heard cheers from the office area – we had just received a big grant from the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Trust. 

Not long after, our Program Coordinator Cristian asked me to come out into the Warehouse to meet a family. I took the photo (below) just as the garage door was closing at the end of a full day.

This mom and her family of 7 fled from California to remove themselves from the violence they were experiencing in their city. After being homeless for over a year, they were so grateful to have furnishings. You could see the peace and ease in her eyes. The young boy, although shy, explained to me how they were "going home" to "set up all their new things."

Goodness knows we face challenges every day – an unexpected rainstorm ruined our hiking plans, your computer won't turn on (GAH), my computer crashed (GAH #2), your car broke (whaaaat??), we had to turn down a frustrated donor, you have ants in the kitchen (EGAD!), or perhaps we served a really challenging family at the Warehouse...

And at the same time, on the other side of every road bump, there is a person or family whose life has become exponentially better because of this work. I wanted to send this note to hold a little extra space for our successes, even the seemingly little ones. Serendipitously, I stumbled across this quote this morning:

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Happy autumn, everyone – and thank you for supporting your local furniture bank.


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