A unique partnership has formed between our St. Catharines Habitat for Humanity Restore and the Niagara Furniture Bank and it all began when a couple of our Habitat Niagara volunteers, James and Bob, recognized how two charities could help each other out.
The Niagara Furniture Bank is a non-profit organization that collects gently used home furnishing to provide individuals and families in the Niagara Region with beds, tables, chairs and other furnishings that turn “shelters” into “homes”. Similarly, Habitat for Humanity ReStores collect home improvement items and sell them to the public, the funds generated from the sales go toward building affordable homes for local families.
When our ReStores reopened and Bob and James came back to volunteer with us, our store hours had changed and were closed on Mondays, so they decided to volunteer with the Niagara Furniture Bank every Monday. After their second week there, they asked Frank Roperti, the St. Catharines ReStore Manager, to reach out to the Executive Director of the Niagara Furniture Bank because they were so overwhelmed with donations.
During the provincial lock-down people cleaned out their homes and garages, and in June when retail businesses were given the green light to reopen many donation centres received massive amounts of donations, and some thrift stores had made the decision not to accept furniture. A lot of this furniture was ending up at the Niagara Furniture Bank and overwhelming the organization.
“The Furniture Bank was so happy with the timing of our new partnership,” explains Frank Roperti, ReStore Manager. “When I got to their store the first time in early July, you should have seen how packed their store was! The warehouse manager was so happy to see us, knowing how we can help take some donations off their hands so they could have room for more.”
Additionally, the Niagara Furniture Bank sometimes receives broken appliances they cannot dispose of or fine furnishings that might not be suitable for a family home, our ReStore can take those items for responsible recycling or to sell at our store. In return, they need working televisions and electronics, so when our ReStore collects any of those items, we drop them off.
“This partnership couldn’t be more perfect,” said Frank. “It’s great for both organizations, the environment, and more importantly, we’re supporting one another. I can’t thank James and Bob enough for thinking about how our charities can help one another, I owe it all to them.”