Most of us in Ottawa have thought about what to do with our homes since having a few nice weather days. Finishing the basement, renovating the kitchen, updating the living room all require a bit of planning and clean up. What are you doing with your perfectly good furniture and household items that don't match your new decor? Looking for a good home for your stuff?
Think about HWF! That's Helping With Furniture, a volunteer-run charitable group that provides gently used furniture and household goods to refugee claimant families struggling to start a new life in the Ottawa area.
I recently spoke with Natalie Maione, one of the co-founders of this incredibly generous and necessary charity. She gave me some great information about what's needed and how people can get involved.
What can you do for Helping with Furniture?
Give gently used household items: Currently the biggest needs are lamps, blankets, sheets, kitchen items, small appliances and window coverings. If you have furniture that's in sets or matching, this is great, as it allows Helping With Furniture to give a family items that work well together in a room. The volunteers are concerned with helping new Canadians feel at home and inspired.
I was surprised to learn that lamps and window coverings are desperately in need and go a long way in providing a safe and secure feeling for these refugees. Many of the people come from unsafe surroundings and feel vulnerable in a new country. If they're able to turn a light on at night or close their blinds, this makes for a peaceful feeling at home.
According to Helping With Furniture, the people that are helped have often fled from conflict and life-threatening situations and arrive in Canada with little more than hope to sustain them. Those who can find housing often spend months with little or no furniture.
Give monetary donations: There is no paid staff at Helping With Furniture. To transport, store, deliver and insure the furniture, costs money. Occasionally they buy items that they're short on. There is a cost to this and any donation you make can go a long way.
Attend the annual gala: April 20, 2012 is the 6th annual Helping with Furniture Gala. This is their yearly fund raiser, silent auction.
What will Helping with Furniture do for you?
Pick up: If you live within these Ottawa boundaries, Helping With Furniture will arrange to pick up your items. Check here to see if you live with in the mapped area. If you don't, they do have a drop off facility also.
Recycle: No one likes to see household items and furniture that are in perfectly good shape go to a land fill site. By sending your gently used items to Helping With Furniture you are contributing to the greening of Ottawa. That's for all my friends who don't see themselves as being green! You can be!
Provide Volunteer Opportunities: If you've been saying to yourself, you'd like to get involved in the Ottawa community, now is a great time. Helping With Furniture is in need of movers, volunteer-coordinating team members, drivers, drop-off volunteers, fund-raisers, data bank organizers and donor contacts.
Students looking to do their volunteer hours may also be able to do so through Helping With Furniture.
On top of these great benefits, you'll know that the simple act of giving something you have little use for now, will have great value for someone else.
We were recently able to help a refugee family ourselves, in a small way. They weren't looking for hand outs, they appreciated everything and are actively looking to better themselves and their kids here in Canada.
When you're cleaning out your closest.... think about HWF!