Portland, OR. The “Chair Affair 2021” was a virtual affair to celebrate the fact that Community Warehouse has been serving under-furnished neighbors for the past 20 years. Dale Johannes and Anna Kurnizki, Community Warehouse’s Interim Executive Director, were hosts for the event.
The event featured inspiring stories from people whose houses have been transformed into homes. The event on March 10th raised $262,311 which will be used to connect essential furnishings to neighbors in need throughout the region. Many staff and volunteers helped make the event happen.
Partners like the Jami LeBaron from ROSE Community Development describe the respect and dignity that under-furnished neighbors find. “I’ve helped a single mother of three come in and furnish her home. We came to this location [Community Warehouse in Tualatin] and shopped around. For her, I think that it absolutely filled her with joy to bring home beds, and bring home a couch, and it made a huge difference for her.”
Roz Babener is the founder of Community Warehouse. She highlighted the growth of Community Warehouse over the past 20 years. “We opened our doors in 2001. The first location that we had was just some big garage doors in a storage unit area, and we’ve grown from there.”
Former Client Megan Renee was a Community Warehouse furniture recipient. Megan and her daughters enjoy dinner at the table with lively conversation. “Every night we sit at the table and we have dinner and we talk about our day. It’s important to me that I give them that foundation to build from.”
Megan and her daughters relaxing together on their couch.
Enthusiasm for Community Warehouse’s mission was focused on the essential service that Community Warehouse provides. Testimonials included a mother’s story of resilience despite the challenges caused by disruptions from COVID-19.
Anna Kurnizki, Interim Executive Director explained, “Our mission of giving and receiving invites and inspires everyone to give back. Even during the pandemic, when each of us is in some way struggling, everyone is stepping up – with love for each other.”
As the only furniture bank in the tri-county region, Community Warehouse provides the necessary support for housing stability. After being deemed an essential service during the shutdown, Community Warehouse remained open to provide fundamental items to families throughout the region. Items such as beds and pots and pans enabled families to shelter in place safely.
Our clients receive essential items critically important for a safe and healthy home, such as a bed to sleep on and tables to eat meals at. These basic items are paramount in ensuring and maintaining housing stability. As a former client explained: “My goals were getting an apartment and providing for my daughter financially, getting on my feet and off of assistance. Furniture was a huge financial burden, so that helped me get the stability to achieve my goals.” Community Warehouse has been sustainably serving the most vulnerable members of the community for 20 years, growing from a grassroots drive to help refugee families from the former Soviet Union to an established 501c3 nonprofit working with 250+ referring agencies to serve 60 families per week. In 2020 alone, CW provided essential furnishings to over 2,800 people, including 900 children under 18. Our clients include people transitioning from homelessness, domestic violence survivors, refugees and immigrants, veterans, and many other individuals and families recovering from crises. 67% of our clients are people of color and 70% are female-headed households.
You can help, too! Drop off your donations of new or gently-used furniture and household items at one of the Warehouse locations in NE Portland and Tualatin. Visit Community Warehouse’s website to learn about most-needed items and donation guidelines: www.communitywarehouse.org.
Portland, OR. Community Warehouse raised a record $200,687 at its annual gala, “Chair Affair,” which was held on June 26th. The event was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Chair Affair 2020 was “a virtual affair to remember,” according to Community Warehouse Communications Manager Pua Trice, and featured “unique art, exciting auctions, and inspiring stories from people whose houses have been transformed into homes.”
“The event raised a record-setting net of $200,687 that will connect essential furnishings to neighbors in need throughout the region,” Trice said. Dale Johannes and Dunethcka Otero-Serrano, Community Warehouse’s Executive Director hosted the event, as shown in the photo above. “I want to start tonight’s Chair Affair with gratitude,” Otero-Serrano said. “These past few months have been so challenging for all of us, but we have been able to get creative and continue service to our community because of our partners.”
Children’s Chairs created by local artists and sponsored by wonderful supporters of Community Warehouse. These chairs go to children of families that visit the Warehouse in need of furnishings.
“These past few months have certainly been challenging,” Johannes said, “but your team of superheroes—and they are superheroes—they’ve been hard at work adapting to this change and creating some new ways to meet the needs of the community.”
The hosts emphasized how important a table or a bed can be throughout Covid-19’s disruptions to daily life, and that Community Warehouse has continued to serve their clients throughout the pandemic by supplying them with Home2Go essential item kits.
“These are kits that are essential items for every household, designed to give our clients an opportunity to cook their own meals, to have a safe place to sleep, a full set of dishes, and a full set of towels and bedsheets,” said Community Warehouse Program Director Joe Glode in a video.
Stories from various partners, volunteers and clients were spotlighted at the event. Partners like the Tigard-Tualatin School District detailed the impact that essential furnishings have on their students’ capabilities in the classroom, and Youth volunteers highlighted their understanding and proactivity towards Community Warehouse’s mission.
Matthew Mickles, Ben Garcia, and Priscilla Villanueva from the Tigard-Tualatin School District
“Well-being was encapsulated by the Espinoza family,” Trice said, “clients that can enjoy ‘family day’ in a warm and welcoming home.”
The Espinoza Family—Amelia, Alexander, Ailani, Steve, Sandra, and Sandy
According to Glode, at the beginning of the pandemic in March, Community Warehouse had to temporarily lay off most of its staff. “When city and state officials issued a stay at home order, we really were thinking, how do you stay at home if you have nothing at home?” Glode said.
That’s when Community Warehouse decided to start making essential item kits—called Home2Go kits—with items they had readily available in both their Portland and Tualitan warehouses.
Since March, Community Warehouse has been able to bring nearly all of their staff back to work in some capacity, and the organization is continuing to focus on providing their services to the Portland community.
“It means a lot to know that we have the support of everyone in the community to make sure that we can provide furniture in a safe place to live for everyone,” Glode said.
Joe Glode, Program Director at Community Warehouse, preparing a Home2Go Essential Item Kit.
About Community Warehouse:
We’re your friendly local furniture bank, serving the Portland area for over 15 years. How does a furniture bank work? In a nutshell, we collect donated home goods, and work with social service agencies to get those goods in the hands of those who need it most. The stuff you no longer need becomes the solution for a family in need. Pretty simple, huh? At Community Warehouse, it’s the simple stuff – the extra dishes, towels, beds, and more – that changes lives.
Portland, OR. Community Warehouse’s Chair Affair on April 13th was held at the Sentinel Hotel. Executive Director Dunetchka Otero-Serrano, Founder Roz Babener, and Rich Nixon were on hand for the cocktail hour, silent auction, dinner and live auction. The annual gala was also an opportunity for supporters to spend time with other community members who see the furniture bank as an important offering in a time of need. (Photo credit, Michelle Radford-Brown, Justin Houk, Tom Healy)
Estela Sanchez and Pedro Flores, owners of La Cocina restaurant, were honored guests and featured speakers, sharing their story of friendship with Community Warehouse.
Mark and Cathy Myers, of SSOE.
Dirk Fournier, Dunetchka Otero-Serrano, and Jody Stahancyk
Auctioneer Dale Johannes helps Golden Ticket Winner Dorothy Barnum make a selection from the live auction packages.
Jessica Thompson, of Oregon Walks
Bid cards raised! Dunetchka Otero-Serrano and Brandi Tuck, of Portland Homeless Family Solutions
Organizers say, “Our region only has one furniture bank to provide essential items for people and families whose homes—and lives—are transformed by the generous offerings of our community. Neighbors helping neighbors, turning houses into homes.”
From Community Warehouse:
Community Warehouse is a nonprofit furniture bank that connects essential furniture and household items to 7,800 individuals, including 3,553 children, every year. Through partnerships with over 200 social service agencies, the Warehouse helps 60 households each week in our Portland and Tualatin locations, and keeps 500+ tons of goods out of landfills each year. Together, we put used goods to good use every day as we help our neighbors in need. Chair Affair is the Warehouse’s major annual fundraiser. All proceeds from the event directly support Community Warehouse. Learn more at communitywarehouse.org
BedMart and Tempur-Pedic with some of the donated mattresses.
Well-known as the only full-service furniture bank in the region, Community Warehouse helps thousands of recipients create safe and stable homes each year. “While many of us have lots of things to be thankful for, some of us are most thankful for a bed to sleep in at night. We thank BedMart for making this possible for many families who will visit the Warehouse in the upcoming weeks,” says Jesse Dobson, Westside Program Manager.
Albertina Kerr strengthens Oregon families and communities by helping children, adults and families with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges. “Providing a safe, nurturing environment for children with significant developmental disabilities is an important part of the intensive 24-hour care Albertina Kerr provides,” said Amy Miner, communications manager. “A good night’s sleep is vital for every child and now these kids and teens will enjoy comfortable new mattresses thanks to BedMart.” In addition to the Tempur-Pedic mattresses, BedMart also provided complimentary mattress protectors from GBS Enterprises to help support Portland’s vulnerable communities.
The giveaway inspired employees.
About Albertina Kerr
Since 1907, Albertina Kerr has been strengthening Oregon families and communities. Today, Kerr provides a wide range of services to children, adults and families with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges. Albertina Kerr serves people from throughout Oregon and is located in the Eugene-Springfield, Corvallis-Albany, Salem and Portland metropolitan areas. Professional expertise includes child psychiatry, pediatric, adult and psychiatric nursing, clinical social work, professional counseling, skill training, behavior management, foster care recruiting and training, employment development and residential support for adults with developmental disabilities. Albertina Kerr operates a total of 15 neighborhood group homes for youth that offer 24-hour support and life skills training for children and teens requiring specialized care and treatment. A solid, safe and nurturing environment, the group homes give children a place to call home and the privacy of their own bedroom.
About Community Warehouse
Since 2001, Community Warehouse – the region’s only nonprofit furniture bank – has offered essential household items and furnishings to thousands of neighbors in need each year. Through two locations and partnerships with 164 social service agencies, Portland Public Schools, and local hospitals, the Warehouse serves 60 families each week. Together, we put used goods to good use every day.
About BedMart Mattress Superstores
BedMart is a locally owned and family operated business serving Portland, Bend, and Salem Oregon. Since 1992, we have been offering our customers the best selection of mattresses at the best price. We offer an extensive line of mattresses and accessories including innerspring, memory foam, latex, allergy friendly, and natural mattresses, bed protectors, and pillows available. Our professionally trained sleep experts are here to assist you in finding the right mattress for your body and budget.
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