VOLUNTEER VIEW: House 2 Home operates ‘virtual’ furniture bank

House 2 Home Furniture Bank was established in 2009 and had about 65 volunteers in 2014.

Purpose: We help people and families who were homeless and have recently acquired housing through housing case management. Many of the people we serve move into their apartments with no furniture and are forced to eat and sleep on the floor. House 2 Home helps ensure that children have beds to sleep in and families have a dinner table to share meals together.

House 2 Home is unique because we don’t collect items at the office or store them in a warehouse – instead, when a donor makes a furniture donation, they are matched with a customer request. When a match has been made, a delivery volunteer picks up the item from the donor’s house and delivers it to the recipient’s home. At this time, we are the only “virtual” furniture bank in the country.

Volunteer highlights: A recent story demonstrates how the program works and how instrumental each of the “players” are in the success of the program. The donor contacted House 2 Home to make a large donation of furniture from her parents’ home. This included two dining sets, two couches, a chair and three mattress sets. This job would take a whole caravan of pickup trucks, multiple trips or a moving truck. Enter the Johnson Team Real Estate moving truck! The Johnson Team sponsors House 2 Home and makes its moving truck available to community organizations and their clients. We borrowed the truck. Then there was manpower to assemble. Three volunteers were available, one is a retired gentleman, one man works full time and volunteers on his days off and the third is a full-time mom and volunteer. The trio met up with the House 2 Home coordinator and on that day served four grateful households with furniture. The donor, the volunteers, and the use of the truck were each critical to this job and our program.

Signature fundraiser: We are a program of the Volunteer Center, which will host Oktoberfest Sept. 18 at Depot Market Square.

Wish list: The item on our wish list that would transform our program is a box moving van. Corporate sponsors: can’t you see your logo on the side of our House 2 Home moving truck? (Your company name) helping to end homelessness in Whatcom County.

Volunteer needs: Two new volunteers, please. House 2 Home is critically dependent on volunteers who can lift and move furniture and who have a pickup truck/van to transport items. This volunteer job will make your heart feel good! Contact Jennifer at 360-746-2362 today!

For more information, go online to whatcomvolunteer.org/house-2-home.