Highlands steps up to make furniture donation count

By Jenn Watt

More than 100 pieces of furniture no longer needed at Twin Lakes Resort near Minden found their way to homes across the Highlands and City of Kawartha Lakes after a concerted effort that involved local businesses volunteers and social service organizations.

For about three months from the fall of 2015 to just after Christmas more than 80 beds 30 bunk beds and 13 couches were stored picked up and delivered to local families in need directed by Job Quest and Community Living Haliburton County.
“We co-ordinated with the other social service agencies for everybody to look at their caseloads to determine the need and then everything went through Job Quest” says Tim Tofflemire employment counsellor with Job Quest.

Job Quest is a program run through Community Living that assists people who encounter barriers to employment. Tofflemire says that because the program works to address the individual challenges in each client’s life they are able to be flexible in finding solutions.
“We’re really able to do a lot of things” he said.
“No agency is mandated for stuff like this. If my employers weren’t open to the idea there was nobody to take the lead on it.”
Some families who received beds had previously been using mattresses on the floor or had kids sleeping on couches. Tofflemire noted that the bunk beds were made of solid wood and were perfect for children.

Aside from clients of Job Quest and Community Living Children’s Aid Services Haliburton Highlands Mental Health Services Brain Injury Association of Peterborough Region John Howard Society City of Kawartha Lakes and Point in Time as well as Ontario Works all were involved.
They also engaged the business community.
Because each bed or couch was selected with a recipient in mind – and because trucks and vans had to be found for delivery – storage was needed in the short term.

Rodco and Haliburton Self Storage both offered space allowing the agencies the time to find the families who needed beds the most.
Patient News Publishing RPM and Curry Motors all helped out by donating use of their delivery trucks to help with moving.
“I think it’s pretty unique to Haliburton County how we all work together to get things done” Tofflemire said.