Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why It’s Important to Recycle Your Furniture, and How the Furniture Industry is Getting Involved in the Initiative

From a young age, we have all been told to recycle – water bottles, paper, boxes etc. But did you know this also applies to your furniture?

The recent trend is attributed to the steadily rising rates at which landfills are filling up, and the dangers this presents to the future of our planet. Furniture can take years to fully break down, meaning it sits in a landfill for years, polluting and damaging the land. By recycling your furniture, or buying furniture which uses recycled materials, you are preventing more furniture from going to the landfill and ensuring that less natural resources are used in producing new furniture. This is essential in the fight to ensure a healthy planet and a bright future.

It’s not just consumers who have heard the call to action and responded. Furniture companies are joining the cause and increasingly using more sustainable practices in producing their product. Companies such as Ikea have started using organic cotton from farmers who do not use too much water, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides, and have also started using recycled materials in their wood products. Another company, Emeco, has been using recycled materials since WWII, producing chairs and tables out of salvaged aluminum for warships and sailors; today, they still make durable furniture out of salvaged metals and items, but for hotels and restaurants.

Even offices and office suppliers, such as Renovo, have committed to ensuring their offices are 100% recycled; this means that their desks, chairs, and other office materials will not be replaced before maximum use is extracted from them, and that they will be donated or reused/repurposed in some way.

So, why should we bother? And why are furniture companies themselves kicking up a fuss? The answer to these questions is simple: there is a clear environmental benefit, which affects everyone. Ultimately, recycling furniture helps more people than it hurts. Buying recycled furniture is not the only way to go – donating your furniture also ensures that it’s given a second life and helps others who are in need.

The JRCC Furniture Depot encourages you to recycle your furniture, and donate it. You’re helping the environment, you’re helping yourselves, and you’re also helping others. If you are interested in donating your furniture to the JRCC Furniture Depot, call 416-222-7105 x500 today!

How to Donate During COVID-19 and Onward: Tips and Tricks to Ensuring You Give Charities What They Need

At the JRCC Furniture Depot, we strive to make protocols and requirements simple and easy to follow to ensure that donations can be received and given to those in need as soon, and as smoothly, as possible. However, in light of COVID-19 related closures, a little refresher on how and what to donate may still be useful!

To begin with, it is recommended to check our website! We always say what furniture we need on our donation page. If we do not specify on our website, do not hesitate to call our office and ask us. We accept any and all kinds of furniture, generally, and are grateful for every donation; however, our warehouse may be full or overstocked with a particular item, and severely understocked in terms of another. As such, we suggest doublechecking before deciding to drop off your donation.

Second, make sure your furniture is in good condition. When an item arrives in good condition, cleaned and ready to use immediately, it saves our organization valuable time while also allowing for the donation to be put to use as soon as possible.

Third, what we ultimately want is to provide an experience which is pleasant, friendly, and memorable, so that when you next decide to donate, we are your first choice. As we are a community, we pride ourselves on our connections with donors and the people we help, and we hope to connect with you!

To send in your donations, please check our website and fill out a form, or call us with your questions and we will most certainly assist you. If you require furniture, please get in touch with us and we will help you as soon as possible.

Fun and Cost-Effective Ways to Enhance the Look of Your Furniture

For some, COVID-19 has led to a remodeling craze, as many were working, studying, and relaxing from home. As such, there developed a plethora of new, creative, and inexpensive ways to make changes to your home. You don’t need to break the bank to freshen up your abode, and we’ll give you a few of our favorite tips here.

A fresh coat of paint works for so many things – a car, nails, even your shoes. Why not your home? You can repaint your cabinets, your walls, or even your front door – pick a nice, bright color and liven up your street, bring light into your home or even open up your kitchen, all with a can of paint.

If you don’t want to paint, you can always add accessories. A nice rug or a set of curtains can certainly change the look of your home, by adding color, personality, and style. With rugs and curtains, size matters – if a rug is going under a table, the rug should be larger than the table, and curtains should be made to fit the size of your window or the height of your wall.

Of course, it is possible to change the look of your furniture to suit your home as well. You can refinish or repaint furniture depending on its material. You can also change the hardware on your cupboards and drawers, which can give your cabinets an update without the cost of changing them completely. Adding cushions to chairs or tablecloths to your tables can also change the look and style of your chair without the high cost – and you can change the tablecloths and cushions more often for less expense, to suit your mood!

If you are more inclined to replace your furniture, the JRCC is more than happy to accept your gently used furniture donations. If you are in need of furniture to create your warm environment, contact us at 416-222-7105 x500 and we will help you.

“Let’s Go Live in a Tree House”: The Housing Crisis in Canada

For years, Canadian politicians have been debating how they will handle the housing crisis in Canada. If you neither own a home nor really pay attention to politics, you’ll be wondering what exactly it means for a country to have a housing crisis. The housing crisis itself is pretty straightforward – what isn’t straightforward is how to solve it. Let’s get into this issue.

The Issue

On the one hand, we have rising costs of living, including not only home ownership but also rent, utilities, etc. On the other, we have people coming into different parts of the country who are able to buy houses and are contributing to the rising costs of housing all across the country. Despite the fact that there are people who can afford homes, there are many for whom the majority of their paycheck goes to their rent or paying their mortgage.

Ultimately, what a housing crisis refers to is that the cost of housing is more than the income of Canadians. On top of this, the population continues to grow, demand for housing goes up, and so do the costs.

The Answer

The answer seems simple – make the cost of housing proportional to the income of Canadians. However, it’s not that easy. For one, provincial and municipal bodies diverge on how to handle demand for housing; this is because there are many who are choosing to move to Canada, and likely not enough housing for everybody. Currently, the population is 38 billion people, but this is expected to rise to 46.5 million by 2043. Where is everyone going to go? And how are we going to build – upwards, or outwards?

At the provincial government level, officials would be comfortable with building upward, but municipalities are aware that skyscrapers may be uncomfortable and irritating to neighbors, and are unwilling to aggravate them and place added strain on themselves dealing with complaints. Places such as Winnipeg, however, have started to extend their borders and are building out instead of up, as they have also had a surge in their population.

So, what does Canada’s housing future look like? It’s impossible to know for sure, one can only guess. What we do know is, if you need help reducing your home-related expenses, we can help you when it comes to your furniture. Please contact us at the JRCC Furniture Depot if you need help, we’ll be happy to help you.

Highlighting the JRCC Furniture Depot’s partner agencies: settlement organizations

Since it was created in 1984, the JRCC Furniture Depot has grown from a local community network into a large non-profit organization that has provided thousands of households with donated furniture items. In 2019 alone, the JRCC Furniture Depot received over 5,000 donated furniture items, and served over 750 families.

Part of the reason for the Furniture Depot’s tremendous growth is the relationships we have developed with partner agencies all across the GTA. These agencies provide social services to marginalized populations across Toronto and York Region, including people living under the poverty line, newcomers to Canada, and more.

All clients of the JRCC Furniture Depot are referred to us directly by case workers at these agencies. We work with over 60 social service agencies, whose clients are often in need of basic furniture items to create and maintain safe and healthy households.

Let’s take a look at some of the JRCC Furniture Depot’s partner agencies to better understand our clients. Here is a partial list of some of the organizations we work with that help settle newcomers to Canada.

Settlement Assistance & Family Support Services (SAFSS)

SAFSS is a non-profit that focuses on un-served and under-served areas of Scarborough. The organization was founded in 1989 to serve newcomers to Canada, refugees, and victims of all types of violence. Today, they support approximately 13,000 people each year at four different locations in Scarborough. They offer settlement services, counselling programs, legal and housing assistance for victims of domestic abuse, and programming for isolated seniors.

Welcome Centre Immigrant Services

We partner with five locations of Welcome Centres, which are one-stop services that assist immigrants and newcomers to Canada. Welcome Centres provide newcomers with all the services they need to ensure a successful transition into Canada, including English language training, employment support, and legal services.

Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS)

The only Jewish agency in Canada dedicated to the settlement of immigrants and refugees, JIAS has worked with waves of immigrants and refugees since 1922. JIAS offers support to newcomers from all over the world, helping them rebuild social and professional networks and helping find employment opportunities. You can find a full list of the JRCC Furniture Depot’s partner agencies here. You can support the JRCC Furniture Depot’s mission of providing free furniture to those in need, including clients of these agencies. Contact us today to arrange a furniture or monetary donation, or let us know if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer!

Highlighting the JRCC Furniture Depot’s partner agencies: family and child services

Since it was created in 1984, the JRCC Furniture Depot has grown from a local community network into a large non-profit organization that has provided thousands of households with donated furniture items. In 2019 alone, the JRCC Furniture Depot received over 5,000 donated furniture items, and served over 750 families.

Part of the reason for the Furniture Depot’s tremendous growth is the relationships we have developed with partner agencies all across the GTA. These agencies provide social services to marginalized populations across Toronto and York Region, including people living under the poverty line, newcomers to Canada, and more.

All clients of the JRCC Furniture Depot are referred to us directly by case workers at these agencies. We work with over 60 social service agencies, whose clients are often in need of basic furniture items to create and maintain safe and healthy households.

Let’s take a look at some of the JRCC Furniture Depot’s partner agencies to better understand our clients. This is a partial list of our partner organizations that provide services to families and children in need.

Jewish Family and Child Service (JF&CS)

The story of JF&CS dates back to 1868, when the Toronto Hebrew Ladies’ Sick and Benevolent Society raised money to help poor Jewish immigrants to the city. Today it has become an organization of over 120 staff that work to respond to poverty, violence, and abuse in the GTA community. Their programs focus on increasing safety and security, reducing the effects of poverty, and improving mental health and wellness.

United Chesed of Toronto

United Chesed was founded to address the needs of the thousands of Jews living in poverty in Toronto. They offer immediate and discreet assistance for the short-term needs of Jewish people from all level of religious observance. Every year they provide thousands of dollars to cover urgent expenses like rent, heating, and electricity bills for impoverished people. They also collect donations of household items like appliances, toys, and medical equipment, and refer clients to other community organizations and service agencies.

York Region Children’s Aid Society (CAS)

The Children’s Aid Society works to keep children in York Region safe by providing child protection services around the clock. The CAS aims to keep families in York Region together through problem solving and connecting them to essential services.

You can find a full list of the JRCC Furniture Depot’s partner agencies here. You can support the JRCC Furniture Depot’s mission of providing free furniture to those in need, including clients of these agencies. Contact us today to arrange a furniture or monetary donation, or let us know if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer!

Highlighting the JRCC Furniture Depot’s partner agencies: shelters and emergency services

Since it was created in 1984, the JRCC Furniture Depot has grown from a local community network into a large non-profit organization that has provided thousands of households with donated furniture items. In 2019 alone, the JRCC Furniture Depot received over 5,000 donated furniture items, and served over 750 families.

Part of the reason for the Furniture Depot’s tremendous growth is the relationships we have developed with partner agencies all across the GTA. These agencies provide social services to marginalized populations across Toronto and York Region, including people living under the poverty line, newcomers to Canada, and more.

All clients of the JRCC Furniture Depot are referred to us directly by case workers at these agencies. We work with over 60 social service agencies, whose clients are often in need of basic furniture items to create and maintain safe and healthy households.

Let’s take a look at some of the JRCC Furniture Depot’s partner agencies to better understand our clients. This is a partial list of some of the shelters and emergency services agencies we work with to supply furniture to those in need.

360ºkids

This organization was named one of Canada’s Best Charities 2020 by Maclean’s Magazine. 360ºkids provides support services to at-risk and homeless youth in York Region. They provide shelter for young people as well as other support services like clothing and food, employment services, and counselling. The organization now serves over 3,500 youth each year.

Inn From the Cold

Inn From the Cold supports people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. During the winter, they offer shelter to people in need, including access to meals, clothing, and laundry and shower facilities.

Blue Door Shelters

Blue Door provides safe emergency housing and housing services for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They operate three locations in York Region: one for families, one for men, and one for male youth. In 2019, Blue Door provided 34,080 nights of safety and 102,240 meals to people in need.

Belinda’s Place

Owned by York Region and managed by the Salvation Army, Belinda’s Place is a multi-service facility that supports single women who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. In addition to providing emergency shelter, they also offer housing support for people seeking transitional and second-stage housing, as well as employment services.

Sandgate Women’s Shelter of York Region

Sandgate is a charitable organization that provides 24-hour safe shelter to women and children in need. They also provide financial, legal, and housing assistance, including referrals to services like the JRCC Furniture Depot.

Victim Services of York Region

This non-profit agency works in collaboration with the York Regional Police and Ontario Provincial Police to provide 24-hour emotional support and practical assistance to people who have been victimized by crime or other tragic circumstances. Victim Services offers quick response programs to victims of the most serious crimes, as well as crisis hotlines and support groups.

York Region Centre for Community Safety (YRCCS)

The YRCCS provides services to adults and children who have experienced domestic violence. Their focus is on centralizing services under one roof to make things as easy for these individuals as possible. Among their services are trauma counselling, legal services, and housing and employment consultations. You can find a full list of the JRCC Furniture Depot’s partner agencies here. You can support the JRCC Furniture Depot’s mission of providing free furniture to those in need, including clients of these agencies. Contact us today to arrange a furniture or monetary donation, or let us know if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer!

The rebbe’s teachings on charity

All of the work that is done by the JRCC is built off of the pioneering methods of the international Chabad movement. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known as ‘the Rebbe,’ remains the dominant figure of the Chabad movement.

Not only is the Rebbe widely recognized as a pioneer of Jewish outreach, but he was also a prolific writer. His teachings have been published in hundreds of volumes. He also wrote tens of thousands of letters over his lifetime responding to personal requests for blessings and advice, many of which have been collected and published. The Rebbe’s vast body of work allows us to access his insights on an incredibly wide range of topics. So what are some of his thoughts on Jewish charity?

In a talk he delivered on Simchat Torah in 1957, the Rebbe explained that the Jewish people are like a Torah scroll. If one letter in a Torah scroll is damaged, the entire scroll is not fit for use. This applies equally to smaller and mid-sized letters as it does to larger letters. If even a single ‘yud,’ the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is missing, the entire Torah scroll is affected.

According to the Rebbe, the same concept applies to the Jewish people. No matter if they are ‘small,’ every Jew is integral to the Jewish community. The essence of the Jewish community is rooted in each individual Jewish person. Despite our superficial differences, we all belong to the same community, meaning that we are all connected, even to fellow Jews we don’t know or haven’t met.

This idea is easily applicable to the idea of giving charity. When you give to Jewish charities like JRCC Cares, our new umbrella organization that houses the JRCC Furniture Depot, Kosher Food Bank, and other social services, you are helping people who are part of the same community. Although you may never meet the people who benefitted from your donation, you can be certain that your contribution is helping members of your community — repairing letters in the same scroll. If you have used furniture items that are in good condition, including tables, desks, mattresses, box springs, etc., contact the JRCC Furniture Depot today to make a donation and ensure these items can be given to a family in need. (Please note that we do not accept appliances or electronics.)

Recycling household items beyond furniture

Big cities like Toronto have an equally big job in organizing the waste produced by the city’s residents. Each year, the City of Toronto must manage over 900,000 tons of waste. Managing waste properly requires money, energy, and also occupies valuable landfill space. In light of this, it’s important for all residents of the GTA to try to minimize the amount of waste they produce.

Donating to the JRCC Furniture Depot is one way to reduce waste production while also giving your old furniture items a second life, benefitting someone in need. The JRCC Furniture Depot collects donations of used furniture items like mattresses, tables, chairs, etc. and gives them to households in need, free of charge. All our clients are directly referred by case workers working at over 60 social service agencies from across Toronto and York Region, including women’s shelters, newcomer centres, and organizations that benefit chronically ill and disabled people.

By collecting donations of large furniture items, the JRCC Furniture Depot is able to save our clients a lot of money that can then be used on other essentials, like food and clothing. If you’ve already arranged for your used furniture to be donated to the JRCC Furniture Depot, here are some other ways to make sure your household items can find second homes — benefiting both those in need and the environment.

  • The Canadian Diabetes Association collects donations of gently used clothing and small household items. Each year they collect 100 million pounds of donated items, diverting them from landfills and using the proceeds to help fund diabetes research.
  • The Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy also collects donations of clothing and other textiles through its Clothing Pick-Up for Cerebral Palsy (CP4CP) program. They also accept donations of other reusable items like toys and games, sporting goods, electronics, and housewares.
  • Oasis Clothing Bank accepts donations of gently used clothing, linens, and housewares including dishes, silverware, and other kitchen supplies, among other items.

If you have furniture items that are in good condition, including tables, desks, mattresses, box springs, etc., contact the JRCC Furniture Depot today to make a donation. (Please note that we do not accept appliances or electronics.)

What is essential furniture?

In 2016, the organization End Furniture Poverty launched a campaign to research the issue of furniture poverty. ‘Furniture poverty’ is a term used to describe the condition of not having essential furniture items.

However, the organization knew that they needed to define this term more precisely, since there is no universal definition of what constitutes essential furniture. Coming up with a list of items was important in order to understand who actually experiences furniture poverty and what specific items they would need to resolve this. The consultation that End Furniture Poverty launched resulted in the creation of the following list of essential furniture items:

  • Bed, bedding, and mattress
  • Table and chairs
  • Sofa and/or easy chairs
  • Wardrobe/drawers
  • Carpets in living rooms and bedrooms
  • Curtains or blinds
  • Washing machine
  • Refrigerator and freezer
  • Stovetop/oven
  • TV

Some of the items listed here may be surprising, or not be considered ‘essential’ by some people. However, the goal of resolving furniture poverty is not just about ensuring that households have the bare minimum of furniture. We cannot say that people from marginalized communities deserve a mattress to sleep on, but not a table to eat dinner at, or desks for children to use for schoolwork.

Rather, resolving furniture poverty is about making sure that even families who cannot afford to invest in large furniture items are able to live ‘normally,’ with the same basic amenities that are available in more fortunate households. Donating furniture is a great way to ensure that your used furniture items can be given a second life as essential items in another household.

The JRCC Furniture Depot accepts donations of many of the items considered essential furniture, including desks, tables, chairs, beds, mattresses, and box springs. If you have gently used furniture that is in usable condition, contact us to arrange a donation today! (Please note that we do not accept appliances or electronics.)