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Welcome to Oyate Tipi Cumuni Yape

Furniture Bank Network

Ending Poverty Behind Closed Doors

Alexandra Béasse

What is a Furniture Bank? Many people have come to understand the value and importance of food banks across Canada and North America.  A Furniture Bank operates on a similar premise. Generous donors “deposit” gentled use furniture and household items, and people in need “withdraw” what they need to furnish their homes. 

Client Quote: “Is it too much to want to have curtains?”

Who Are Our Clients?  Women and children leaving shelters, people transitioning from homelessness, youth aging out of Care, newcomers and refugees.  Many of the people we serve come from housing situations which are at best temporary.  Many do not have access to funds to support furnishing an apartment and Social Assistance often barely covers first and last months rent.  Furniture Banks are an ethical and fair method to turn four walls into a home.

Client quote: “Receiving my furniture made me feel worthy.”

How do Furniture Banks Support Community?  Reuse organizations like Furniture Banks can create significant social opportunities including employment and volunteerism, skills training, and a supportive employment. Staff and volunteers, many who have been previous clients, gain work related skills while giving back to their communities.

Volunteer Quote: “I was once a client, now I want to give back, and in doing so I am gaining pre-employment skills.”

Where are furniture banks located? In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Oyate Tipi Cumini Yape, which in the Dakota Language means “Where the community lives, sharing and recycling” is one of 45 members of Furniture Link which is a collective of furniture banks from across Canada and the US.  Founded by Annalee Sawiak, Furniture Link’s philosophy is to redirect unwanted furniture to furniture banks to encourage recycling, sharing, upcycling, and reusing.

Executive Director of Oyate Tipi quote: “Four walls do not make a home, but when you fill it with furniture and love, you have a one!”

How do Furniture Banks support a sustainable economy?  Furniture Link works to redirect unwanted furniture already in motion to the Furniture Bank Network.  This strategy avoids duplicating infrastructure costs and minimizes the carbon footprint of transportation solutions.  Wherever possible reuse and refurbishment is chosen over recycling. For this to work, Furniture Link looks for revenue-share based funding models to create sustainable flows of goods and funds to furniture bank charities across Canada and the United States,

The Toronto Furniture Bank’s website states: “We are the most socially and environmentally responsible furniture removal solution!”

One Staff’s Story:

Jeffery” (not his real name) aged out of care in 2018, he was fortunate enough to be part of a supportive program which set him up with his first apartment with furniture from a furniture bank.  After a few short-term jobs, Jeffery joined the staffing team at a furniture bank as a casual staff member.  Currently this is his only source of income.  His hours vary from week to week but he is able to survive, in part to making a living wage per hour as defined by the area in which he lives.  Since being hired, Jeffery has gained skills in the area of First Aid/CPR, the use of Personal Protective Equipment, and non-violent conflict resolution skills.  Jeffery’s employer has also supplied him with steel-toes boots, high-vis work shirts, and leather gloves.  Jeffery shared “I was not looking for a handout, but because of this program I am extremely thankful.”

To learn more about Furniture Bank, visit www.furniturelink.co.  

To learn more about Oyate Tipi Cumini Yape, visit www.oyatetipi.com/about

To learn more about The Toronto Furniture Bank, visit www.furniturebank.org

Please use the ‘Contact Us’ link on the upper right to send an email. We check the email more often than the comments on our pages. Thank you.

14 Comments

  1. Gil
    Gil November 26, 2020

    hi – I received your contact from Stephanie Ross at NEWC on Selkirk Ave. How do I go about making a furniture donation? Can I drop off of will someone come to collect the items?

    • celticfrog
      celticfrog November 27, 2020

      Good Morning:

      Thank you for considering our organization for donations. Currently due to the Extended Code Red restrictions we are not accepting or picking up donations due to being considered non-essential. Once the restrictions have been lifted, we will resume with business. You can email reception@oyatetipi.com or call 204-589-2218.

  2. Nancy
    Nancy November 27, 2020

    Hello, my friend and I are looking to support and donate to your charity. We have many gently used furniture and housewares supplies. Not sure how donations work with Covid. Looking for information about that. If it was on your website, my apologies, I must have missed it. Is there a phone number for pick up donations in Winnipeg?

    • celticfrog
      celticfrog November 27, 2020

      Good Morning:

      Thank you for considering our organization for donations. Currently due to the Extended Code Red restrictions we are not accepting or picking up donations due to being considered non-essential. Once the restrictions have been lifted, we will resume with business. You can email reception@oyatetipi.com or call 204-589-2218.

  3. Theresa Katchanoski
    Theresa Katchanoski December 1, 2020

    I have donated furniture to you approximately 4 years ago.

    Presently, I have household items, a chest of drawers, and odds&ends to donate. I can have them ready in a couple of days.

    I called 204-589-2265 and it said to contact the website for further information.

    • Kelly Johnston
      Kelly Johnston January 20, 2021

      For donations call 204-589-2218. We are currently not accepting donations at this time due to the code red restrictions. When these restrictions are lifted we will resume with scheduling pick up and drop off donation by appointment.

  4. Alexandra Beasse
    Alexandra Beasse December 15, 2020

    Thank you for your generosity.
    Due to the extended Code Red, we are unable to accept donations at this time.

  5. Brian Barkley
    Brian Barkley January 19, 2021

    Any change in picking up furniture? We will soon have nearly new IKEA bed ready for pickup.

    • Kelly Johnston
      Kelly Johnston January 21, 2021

      We still are not accepting donations due to code red restrictions. Please email reception@oyatetipi.com so we can contact you by email when we resume with pick ups.

  6. Jennifer
    Jennifer January 20, 2021

    Can you please put me on your list for when pick ups resume I have a couch and love seat I’d like to donate Please use my email address to contact me

  7. 'bro' ron
    'bro' ron January 20, 2021

    I got out of prison and live in a Halfway house in a small room. They expect us to find work, place to live, and get off the public dole. I want to, but didn’t know how much it costs for stuff. I don’t want to go back where the public pays $175. A day for my cell, meals, pills, and rec equips (something to do). I can’t access this furniture bank without a referral that no one seems to want to give. Any ideas? Nice quote from a leader about a home. I don’t want a furnished romming house apt. that is like living in a hotel. I am trying to rebuild my life. Is that a good reason? Just saying…

  8. Heather
    Heather January 25, 2021

    Hi

    I am wondering if you have started collecting furniture again with the latest restrictions being eased slightly? We live just outside city in Oak Bluff, will you guys pick up in Oak Bluff? or do we need to deliver donations to you?

    Thanks

  9. 'bro' ron
    'bro' ron January 26, 2021

    I got a new worker last week & ‘SAM’ HAS NOT returned my calls. So, I’m unable to get referal to furniture bank. What can a guy who is on parole to do? – ‘bro’ Ron…

  10. Kelly Johnston
    Kelly Johnston January 26, 2021

    In order to get assistance from us you need to apply for a referral through one of our partnering agencies. So if you go to North End Women’s Centre, Elizabeth Fry Society Wahbung Abinoonjiiag, ACT II or Taking Charge. You need to be enrolled in a program with them before getting a referral to us. So please contact one of these organization for more information.

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