A house is not a home without a place to rest your head.
REALTORS® in Ottawa know a safe place to call home isn’t just a roof over your head. In support of REALTORS Care® Week, the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) partnered with local charity Helping With Furniture (HWF) to collect items for those in need. More than a dozen REALTORS® and board members volunteered more than 55 hours for this important cause.
“As REALTORS®, we have clients who are downsizing or redecorating and are left with pieces of furniture they no longer need. We wanted to be the bridge between those that have and those that are in need,” say Tony McDermott, chair of the Ottawa Real Estate Board’s REALTORS Care® Committee. “Beyond what we’re doing today, we would also like to bring awareness to the amazing work they do for those who need their assistance and those who can provide donation item to them in the future.”
OREB members were invited to make an appointment to drop off small, gently used items from HWF’s wish list to the board’s office ahead of drop-off day.
The furniture drive is just one of many events held in support of REALTORS Care® Week—November 15 to November 21. Now in its third year, the weeklong initiative invites real estate boards, associations and the REALTOR® community to make a collective impact by volunteering their time in support of housing or shelter-related charities in their communities.
“I think it’s a great idea for realtors to get involved and help out in our community. Helping With Furniture is a perfect opportunity for us because we have a lot of clients that need help with furniture. It seemed like a great fit,” say Julie Colbourne, REALTOR® and salesperson. “Volunteering my time makes me feel good. It’s a great feeling to help out and we’re able to do so.”
HWF provides gently used furniture and household goods, including bicycles and computers, to families and individuals in distress, to help them make a fresh start in Ottawa.
For than 15 years, the organization has helped new Canadians, refugees, people fleeing domestic violence, people living with mental illness or people at risk of homelessness.
“We’re very pleased to have the Ottawa Real Estate Board here today as we see a link between the real estate industry and the fact that we are helping families with furniture,” says Kate Leduc, a volunteer at Helping With Furniture’s warehouse. “It means a lot for us to have donations—especially double mattresses as (OREB) have donated three which will be helping three families tonight. This will allow them to not be sleeping on the floor, but they’ll be sleeping in a comfortable bed. That means a lot for families especially when they come from, let’s say, difficult situations like abuse or being a refugee or just being a new immigrant in Canada.”
While their main objective is to serve those in vulnerable groups, they have received requests from social workers, agencies and sponsors. To ensure their resources goes to those most in need, they prioritize those who:
- Have lost all, or most of their possessions;
- Do not have means to furnish their home;
- Do not have access to resources from other organizations;
- Lack support from family, friends or community; and
- Are at risk of homelessness.
For more information about Helping With Furniture and how you can help, visit their website.
The furniture drive is just a small portion of the OREB’s annual charitable efforts. Through FlipGive, members can donate to the board’s REALTORS Care® Foundation funds via online shopping. Additionally, board staff can opt to donate $2 to wear jeans on Fridays.