Two years ago, Home Again Furniture Bank was run by two women who shared a part-time job and operated out of one of their kitchens.
Today, it has an office space, three part-time positions, a warehouse to hold the furniture, several supportive sponsors and more than 100 volunteers.
“We’ve come a very long way,” Maureen Lymburner, the director of development, told The Telegram Friday morning following its official two-year anniversary celebration at the organization’s warehouse in St. John’s.
More importantly, she said, the organization has helped more than 700 homes with disadvantaged people get the items they need to furnish their homes.
“That’s 716 households and the team just left to go furnish some more,” said Lymburner, who came up with the idea to start the Northeast Avalon’s only furniture bank about three years ago after attending a function that welcomed new Canadians.
The non-profit organization provides and delivers furniture and small household appliances to people who need them — from those transitioning from situations of abuse, homelessness, prison or a new country, to low-income seniors and those who are unemployed, under-employed, have disabilities or are struggling to create a new life.
“Some recent divorcees, for example, are strapped for cash and can’t get custody of their kids until they have those (furniture) items,” said Lymburner, adding that many families have no beds and sleep on pieces of Styrofoam.
“I think many of us take for granted when we go home at the end of a tiring day that we can just plop on our sofa and that we have a table for our family to sit at to eat a meal.
“It’s a realization when we go into these homes that until we arrived with a table and chairs or even beds to sleep on, they didn’t have those things.”
But as much as the organization has helped over the last two years, Lymburner said the demand is still great, with 158 households on the waiting list.
“We still have plenty of super single mattresses, but we are in desperate need of almost everything else,” she said. “We need more donations of furniture to be able to meet the high demand.”
With the exception of large appliances, the group accepts all furniture donations, including tables and chairs, sofas, coffee tables, side tables, beds, dressers, lamps and smaller appliances.
The furniture must be in good condition and must come from smoke-free and pet-free homes. There’s a $25 pickup fee to cover the cost of the rental truck.
To contact the group regarding a furniture donation or warehouse space, call 325-4040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.