A chair is not just a chair and a bed is not just a bed. For battling family members, furniture they obtain from a Vancouver nonprofit offers them hope, dignity and balance.
Monthly bill Lemke, founder of the NW Home furniture Bank, mentioned his organization presents home furnishings to individuals by way of referrals from community social company organizations, supplying them with whatever they need to make a house a residence.
“Furniture is much more than a chair. It is comfort, it is family members,” Lemke stated. “That’s our mission assertion: Hope, dignity and security. Stability comes from possessing home furnishings, hope that somebody cares for you, and dignity simply because we let the consumer choose it out.”
Lemke established NW Furniture Bank in Tacoma in 2007 and opened a downtown Vancouver retail store in 2019, which earlier this thirty day period moved to a new locale at 13503 S.E. Mill Simple Blvd., formerly Spanky’s consignment retail store.
By recycling donated furniture to folks in need, NW Household furniture Bank serves victims of domestic abuse, individuals with losses from fireplace or other disasters, foster little ones, and households coming out of homelessness attempting to rebuild their life. Owning furniture cuts down odds of returning to homelessness by 50 p.c, Lemke mentioned.
But a lot more donations, the two furnishings and money, are desperately wanted. Donation solutions are listed at nwfurniturebank.org, and recurring regular donations would also enable make certain a dependable revenue stream.
“In Vancouver, we are serving 40 people a thirty day period, about 480 a 12 months, and that indicates that we have to have 480 sofas every yr just to give away, and 480 eating tables, lamps and a lot more,” he claimed.
Households aided by NW Home furniture Bank are deeply appreciative, as shown by their recommendations.
“Your enable assisted us get back again on our toes after a total loss fire in 2019,” 1 consumer wrote. “My kids and I just cannot thank you enough.”
A different wrote that she and her spouse experienced lived in tents for 6 a long time just before finding into an apartment, but experienced no household furniture.
“Starting around with certainly nothing was a little bit scary, but all our fears have been washed absent,” she wrote.
Lemke claimed the home furnishings financial institution has obtained support from many community companies, together with the Council for the Homeless, Share Vancouver, Divine Consign Home furniture, and the YMCA.
And when the furniture lender experienced to leave its downtown locale because of to the sale of the making, the Oliva loved ones of HiSchool Pharmacy aided come across the new area at a realistic rent. But a upcoming target is for the home furnishings bank to buy its very own setting up, he mentioned.
NW Furniture Bank is funded by donations and by operating an upscale retail home furnishings retail outlet in its front showroom with the household furniture financial institution in the back. It also supports a mattress recycling company in Tacoma to make funds, but mattresses for those people in require are in small supply.
“We have to acquire new mattresses simply because we don’t get ample good types,” he claimed.
Due to the fact it is been about for a longer period, the Tacoma home furnishings lender will get loads of donations, but substantially a lot more is desired below, Lemke mentioned.
“We require donations of excellent home furnishings (to sell). That will give us dollars, and we can get much more mattresses,” he said. Mattresses charge the household furniture lender about $90,000 a calendar year, but all people, primarily kids, requirements a bed of their personal, he claimed.
“They’re not going to do effectively in college, or perform or therapy, if they’re sleeping on the ground or a couch.”
Lemke was in the wholesale furnishings business for far more than 30 years and experienced believed about beginning a furnishings financial institution. He resolved to do it following his 17-calendar year-aged son, who experienced inspired the thought, passed away from lymphoma in 2005.
Lemke and his wife took a excursion to Florida to enable them cope with their loss, where they happened on a household furniture lender in Orlando.
They explored the notion when they acquired property to Pierce County, and the Aged Cannery Home furnishings Retailer in Sumner, which experienced lifted $30,000 for their son’s health-related expenses, urged Lemke to use it for “this home furniture bank you have been talking about.”
“So I acquired a 501(c)(3) application and received begun with just a bunch of volunteers and a borrowed truck,” he said.
Most home furniture banking companies are on the East Coastline with considerably less than a dozen in the West. Lemke explained he hopes the motion will distribute.
“It’s a major circle of daily life, due to the fact say you have to have to get rid of a chair, you can arrive obtain a new chair from us and donate your aged chair, and that is going to a loved ones, and it’s really altering the community,” he mentioned. “The entire factor sort of is effective in a neat way.”