Grab a chair, we need to talk.
Comfy? Good. How often do you think about your furniture? It’s probably not top-of-mind, but if you just arrived in Canada with nothing or if you are transitioning from a shelter or homelessness, having basic furniture becomes an important factor. When faced with the choice to feed your family, or buy beds, it’s a bigger issue we all need to be aware of.
Currently in Toronto there is an estimated 30,000 people unable to furnish their homes in a dignified and safe way, it’s called, “furniture poverty”. While 12,000 people were helped by Furniture Bank, there is currently a waiting list of 4–6 weeks for families looking for the basics that change a shelter into a home.
So back to that chair or sofa you’re sitting on. How is it? Ready for an upgrade? Your first thought might be to put it on the curb, but look again. Is it a well-made piece, maybe slightly worn but clean and sturdy? Donate it. Pick up the phone or visit Furniture Bank online. They’ll come and pick it up and they will also take home goods in good shape and yes, you will pay them but you’ll get a tax receipt and help a family get a better life. Win-win.
It’s that simple.
2017 Chair Affair
Furniture Bank is one of the cleanest places I’ve ever visited. The turn-over of furniture coming and then leaving to a good home is astounding. You can donate all kinds of home goods, too. For seven years, Toronto designers have walked through and chosen a chair to re-do for the Chair Affair, Furniture Bank’s annual fundraiser. This year we discovered a fantastic Canadian-made piece from Silva Custom Furniture. It was still looking dignified and ready for re-homing. We contacted Silva and they very generously offered to reupholster, “Dor Dor” (as the original chair was called). She came back looking pretty and fresh in her new blush-coloured fabric ready for the online auction.
As a new component of the Chair Affair, anyone could bid on the designer chairs and the silent auction items even if they weren’t attending the evening events at Casalife, in Etobicoke. During the live auction, super special chairs were auctioned off; a Toronto Maple Leaf Chair signed by highest points generator, Darryl Sittler included platinum seats, dinner and signed stick by this year’s team and an Auston Mathews autographed jersey. A Raptors Chair designed by Janice Fedak included front row, court-side tickets and signed basketball and a jersey autographed by DeMar DeRozan. The ultimate Live auction item was a $25,000 home reno package. Friends from, Union Lighting and Furnishings, Cercan Tile, Cambria, Distinctive Appliances and PavKannCasa Custom Cabinets all contributed to the package.
It was a great time, an “Affair to Remember”, where you could enjoy oysters prepared by Chef Michael Smith and hand-crafted hors oeuvres with tuna that melted in your mouth. A personal highlight for me was working with The Printing House to create an honourary chair for David Garrett of 1-800-GOT-JUNK and YOU MOVE ME. A photo of clouds and sky was printed on fabric using new technology, only available at the Printing House location on Evans Road in Etobicoke. Upholstered onto a previously loved chair, the piece was called, “Sky’s the Limit” and was a personal thank you to the company for all their work diverting good used furniture from winding up in landfill, benefiting thousands of Torontonians in need.
Now get up, it’s your turn. Turn your furniture into tax receipts and feel good about re-homing your furniture. Don’t wait for spring, furniture poverty doesn’t.
If you’re in the Toronto area contact Furniture Bank at furniturebank.org or call 416-934-1229 ext. 2 for furniture pick up.