Community

Bay Area Furniture Bank: Transporting cast-off items to people who need them


Bay Area Furniture Bank was founded in 2015 by Los Altos resident Ray Piontek, left, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired business executive. 

Editor's note: Some information has been updated from the print version of this story.

• Mission: The Bay Area Furniture Bank provides furniture and household items to the underserved in the community – an estimated 170,000 families in Santa Clara County qualify for housing and living assistance.

The Furniture Bank was founded in 2015 by Los Altos resident Ray Piontek, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired business executive. Piontek’s compassion and dedication are evident, but his business acumen results in an efficient, streamlined organization in which more than 97 percent of revenue generated goes directly to client services. Piontek himself still participates in much of the physical labor involved in transporting the furniture.

• 2018 update: In fiscal year 2018, the Furniture Bank completed its second full year of operations. During its first two years, the furniture bank helped 393 households, which included 1,204 people. The nonprofit delivered 3,905 pieces of furniture and saved 99 tons of furniture from going into landfills, Piontek said. In a short time, the nonprofit organization has become a critical resource to social service organizations that provide support to the homeless and working poor.

The Furniture Bank works with 57 government, faith-based and nonprofit organizations, including the Mountain View-based Community Services Agency. It serves homeless people moving into subsidized housing, veterans transitioning into housing, victims of natural disasters, refugees, foster children aging out of the system and domestic violence victims seeking relocation.

The organization collects discarded furnishings from such sources as hotels, real estate staging companies and furniture stores and donates them to qualified candidates, identified with help from the partnering agencies. Items the Furniture Bank delivers include kitchen tables and chairs, couches, sofa beds, dressers, lamps, kitchenware, linens and towels.

In 2018, the organization received a $75,000 grant from the Santa Clara Office of Supportive Housing, which will enable the organization to expand operations and hire key personnel.

• Why the Holiday Fund is needed: Holiday Fund contributions will enable the Furniture Bank to expand its outreach and services.

 

Bay Area Furniture Bank

Location: PO Box 61042, Sunnyvale 94088

Founded: 2015

Annual budget: $150,759 (current fiscal year)

Staff: Five employees, five volunteers (regular)

Information: bayareafurniturebank.org

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