Meubles et monde: Furniture and the world

Welcoming new arrivals to Park Extension one piece of furniture at a time

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Web http://meublesetmonde.blogspot.ca/
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About the project Edit

About Meubles et monde

It’s simple: Meubles et monde bridges the gap between those who have quality used furniture to give away and families in need.

So many of us have furniture collecting dust in our basements. At the same time, dozens if not hundreds of families in Park Extension eat and sleep on their floors for months after arriving in Canada. In response to this situation, Meubles et monde collects furniture from donors and delivers it to families recommended by local social workers.

But our project goes well beyond tables and beds. For newly arrived immigrant and refugee families, furnishing a home is a major challenge, but finding their place in a new culture and society is even more daunting. Meubles et monde plays an active role in welcoming and integrating. On our first delivery day, an Algerian family received a dresser and a kitchen table. The father of the family immediately offered to join our team for the rest of the day’s deliveries. His desire to “pay it forward” was a fabulous idea that fosters social integration. Those who benefit from the project by giving or receiving furniture are welcome to volunteer with us. When friendships develop and when individuals feel useful and valued – that’s when integration happens.

Meubles et monde’s mission is to support newcomers – individuals and families – to Park Extension by delivering quality used furniture to their home free of charge and by offering them the opportunity to get involved in this project.

There are two main branches to the project:

REDISTRIBUTION, pick-up and delivery: Meubles et monde works with a network of donors (individuals, church communities, private sector and online groups such as Freecycle) to obtain quality used furniture.

At the same time, Meubles et monde partners with a team of social workers at our local Health and Social Services Centre who refer families in need. Referrals also come from other neighbourhood non-profits, from the local citizen committee, from activist groups and from neighbours.

INVOLVEMENT AND INTEGRATION: Those who benefit from the project by giving or receiving furniture are welcome to volunteer to help out with future deliveries or administrative tasks. We offer this possibility so that friendships and a sense of community can develop around Meubles et monde and to encourage newcomers to Quebec to feel useful and welcome.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Did you know that over the past year, Meubles et monde has delivered more than 500 pieces of furniture to new immigrant families in Montreal?

Did you know that more than 70 families from 24 different countries have benefitted from our services?

Most of the families whom we help have been in Montreal for less than 3 months. They have arrived as refugee claimants or as permanent residents. Their homes are often close to empty. We help to make their homes more liveable and more comfortable by delivering tables, chairs, couches, dressers, etc. In exchange, many become volunteers with Meubles et monde and help deliver furniture to other families.

Friends, volunteers, and supporters have given of their time, energy, and financial resources to our cause because of how important it is to welcome our new neighbours with dignity.

Thus begins Year 2 of Meubles et monde! If you’d like to help out by donating furniture, money, or time, please contact us!

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

How we got started

In 2006, my wife and I (Andrea and Julien) moved to an area of Montreal called Park Extension with the intention of getting involved in our neighbourhood.

Park Ex is a vibrant multicultural community that is home to thousands of immigrants and refugees who have just arrived in Canada. Statistics say that there are 75 different ethnic communities in Park Ex, and that 62% of its residents were born outside of Canada. It’s a densely populated place where so many are trying to adapt to a new culture and way of life.

Over the years, we’ve been involved with a number of non-profit organisations and have developed friendships with many of our neighbours. After 5 years, we’re on intimate terms with our neighbourhood and we’ve noticed that there are certain needs that aren’t being met by local government and non-profit organisations. Frankly, we’ve made friends with numerous newly-arrived families who have gone for months without basic furniture in their homes: no beds, tables, chairs, couches, cribs. It seemed absurd to think of those empty apartments when so many people have excess furniture they’d like to give away.

I mentioned this absurdity at a talk on social justice that I gave at a conference in December 2010. Following that talk, some of the conference participants decided to act. They visited a number of churches in suburban Montreal, asking people to donate furniture. Thanks to these volunteers and a partnership with a handful of social workers at our local Health and Social Services Centre, we delivered forty pieces of furniture to a dozen families one day in December.

We realized that this service could – and should – be offered on a regular basis in Park Ex. And voilà: Meubles et monde was born.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

Get involved

Would you like to help us furnish homes for immigrant and refugee families in Park Extension? Currently, we need:

• MONEY: Meubles et monde needs funds to keep running. We are a new organization just beginning to seek sustainable funding from different sources. For the moment, almost all of our funding comes from private donations. We need financial support so that we can:

• Rent a truck once a week (rental cost + gas)
• Rent a storage place (monthly charge)
• Pay a part-time salary

The easiest way to give money is through Paypal https://www.paypal.com/ca/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=O5FeHJsfN3EILK_6mg7kU78geXhvTgG9PqK6mfEj8K0xgsODCZoaoSe3Zn8&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8d0b7e678a25d883d0fa72c947f193f8fd.

You can also send a cheque to:

7239 avenue de l’Épée, #2
Montréal, QC
H3N 2E2

We are a registered non-profit organization but we are still waiting for authorization to give out charity receipts. For now, we cannot provide receipts.

• VOLUNTEERS: We need help collecting and delivering furniture. We also need help developing our donor network and doing some administrative tasks. Contact us!

• Clean and well-maintained USED FURNITURE, especially
• Kitchen tables and chairs
• Dressers
• Couches
• Beds
• Baby items (strollers, change tables, cribs)
• Small appliances (microwaves, for instance)

If you have furniture to donate, please read the following points carefully:

• The furniture that we need most includes: kitchen tables and chairs, couches, dressers, bed frames, baby-related items (bassinets, cribs, strollers, etc.), lamps and small appliances (microwaves, toaster ovens, etc.)
• We only accept furniture that is CLEAN and in GOOD CONDITION.
• We do NOT accept appliances (fridge, stove, washer and dryer). We also do NOT accept mattresses or boxsprings, sofabeds, or TV wall units, or any other pieces of furniture that are over-sized or enormous.
• We are a tiny non-profit organization that depends on a small network of volunteers and operates with a small budget. This means that we can’t always come pick up everything you have to give. We make decisions based on the needs of our clients, the quality of the furniture, and the location of the pick-up.
• We strongly suggest that you send us a photo of the furniture you would like to donate. Email us directly at meublesetmonde@gmail.com.
• When you contact us, we try to get back to you within 48 hours.
• When you contact us, please provide your complete address so that we can determine how far away you are. We do not pick up furniture on the South Shore of Montreal. We sometimes pick up in the West Island and Laval IF the furniture is worth the extra time and expense of driving farther out.
• If we come pick up your furniture, we’d be delighted if you could spare $10 or $20 bucks to help cover our transportation and storage costs. Thanks for believing in our project!
• The only way to contact us is by email at meublesetmonde@gmail.com.

We are happy to come pick up your donated items if you live in Montreal. If you have a number of items to donate, we may also be willing to travel to the West Island, Laval, South Shore, etc.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in this project!


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