June 20, 2023, Guelph, ON: Over the past 12 months, a storefront warehouse at 127 Woolwich Street has provided more than 120 newcomer families from Afghanistan, Ukraine and Syria with the furniture and housewares they need to establish their homes in Guelph and neighbouring communities. While the volunteer-run space was established in late 2021 as part of Danby’s preparations to sponsor 50 Afghan refugee families, the scope of the warehouse quickly grew to help the Guelph community welcome Ukrainian newcomers displaced by the war and to support other newcomer families being settled through Danby’s continuing sponsorship program.
Recognizing the growing need for this community service, Danby has secured and sponsored the warehouse space on an ongoing basis and named it the “Circle Home Furniture Bank”. As Danby CEO Jim Estill explains: “As I have visited with families Danby has sponsored, I’ve witnessed how important it is to provide newcomers with the comfort, dignity, and stability of a furnished home. I’m grateful for all the donors and volunteers who have supported our furniture collections and temporary warehouse spaces since Danby began sponsoring refugees in 2016. I am delighted to partner with the volunteer team at 127 Woolwich Street to establish the Circle Home Furniture Bank as an ongoing resource for newcomer families.”
The storefront warehouse is managed by a small team of volunteers who work in consultation with Danby Refugee Program Administrator Blaire Rennie. Donations of furniture and housewares are received by appointment and newcomers and their sponsors visit the warehouse by appointment to choose what they need.
Thanks to generous community support, including a significant donation from the Stokes store at Stone Road Mall, and Canadian Tire on Stone Road, the warehouse is currently well stocked with dishes, cutlery, mugs and glasses. To meet the immediate needs of the incoming families the warehouse team is currently focusing on collecting essential furniture: apartment-sized sofas, love seats and armchairs; queen, double, twin and bunk beds (used mattresses cannot be accepted); dining and kitchen tables and chairs; bureaus and student-sized desks; small appliances (toasters, coffee makers, kettles, irons) and dish sets and linens (sheet sets and towels). Items must be new or gently used, free from stains, tears, odours or damage. Donations are received by appointment during volunteer shifts on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
To meet the growing demand, the Circle Home Furniture Bank is currently seeking volunteers to fill various roles: to receive and help organize donated furniture during regular three-hour shifts, welcome and assist newcomer families and their sponsors, track incoming and outgoing items, and manage social media. Training and orientation is provided.
Danby’s sponsorship of the Circle Home Furniture Bank represents another chapter in Jim Estill’s continuing commitment to serving and supporting families in need. Working in partnership with local volunteers, organizations and the federal government, Danby’s refugee sponsorship program has helped settle hundreds of newcomer families, helping them find and furnish homes, secure employment, and start their new lives in and around Guelph.
Recently, a newcomer family expressed their thanks in this handwritten note “We sincerely appreciate your help in furnishing our new home. Thank you for extending a helping hand during difficult time for us.”
To learn more about donating furniture or selected housewares to the Circle Home Furniture Bank please visit https://www.danby.com/circle-home-furniture-bank/. To explore volunteer opportunties visit https://www.danby.com/refugee-program/volunteer/.
For further information, or to arrange a tour of the warehouse:
Blaire Rennie, Danby Refugee Program Administrator DanbyRefugeeProgram@gmail.com
About Danby Appliances
Founded in 1947, Danby is one of North America’s leading manufacturers and distributors of compact appliances, such as microwaves, dehumidifiers, refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners. For more information on Danby and its products, please visit https://www.danby.com. Follow Danby on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.