Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Harriet

Philadelphia Furniture Bank
volunteer helping clients choose furniture

The Philadelphia Furniture Bank depends on volunteers to help us complete a variety of tasks in and around our warehouse. In the warehouse, there’s always something going on whether it’s furniture being arranged, clients choosing furniture, or unloading donation drop-offs. We rely on our volunteers to help us sort and assemble donations, to serve as personal shoppers to accompany our clients as choose their furniture, and more! Volunteers are essential to the Furniture Bank's continued smooth operations.

Recently, we spoke to one of our most consistent volunteers at PFB, Harriet. Harriet joined our volunteer team in 2020 and visits the Philadelphia Furniture Bank to volunteer at least once a week ever since! Read more about Harriet’s volunteer experience:

1. How did you first hear about the Philadelphia Furniture Bank and what motivated you to become a volunteer?

Harriet: "I first heard about the Philadelphia Furniture Bank from my neighbor who was formerly a board member. My previous job came to a halt during the pandemic, and I was looking for meaningful ways to fill my time and give back to people in need. I’ve done a lot of volunteering previously, including working with those experiencing homelessness. My neighbor suggested I become a personal shopper for PFB, and after the first day I was hooked. I have been there on average of once a week ever since!"

2.  Can you share a memorable experience or story from your time volunteering at the Philadelphia Furniture Bank?

Harriet: "One memorable client, an older gentleman who was a veteran, was excited to furnish his new home. Although he was could choose various pieces of furniture for his home, he only chose a minimal amount stating, “I will leave those other things for people who really need them.” He and I shared a love and appreciation for original artwork, both dabbling in our own art.  He found a painting that spoke to him, and was excited to bring it home and put it on his wall. That one item gave him such joy! Another client, a single woman, was so thrilled and thankful for the furniture we chose together, that she asked me if it was ok if she could hug me before she left. Her happiness was my reward that day :)"

3. What specific tasks or roles do you typically undertake as a volunteer, and which one is your favorite or most rewarding?

Harriet: "My tasks at the furniture bank include being a personal shopper, organizing and displaying items in the pop up shop, occasional filing, and arranging some of the furniture on the showroom floor. My favorite job is working with the clients and getting to know the people who work at PFB."

4. What motivates you to continue volunteering with the Philadelphia Furniture Bank? Is there a particular aspect of the organization's mission that resonates with you?

Harriet: "The working environment is welcoming with the PFB staff and the Work First employees. It is also nice to feel like the work you are doing is appreciated. After years of volunteering with folks who slept on church floors and were in and out of shelters, it is nice to know that the Housing First Model is working in our city and that so many people are able to retain their homes and become productive members of their communities. Being a small part of this mission is very rewarding."

5. Is there any advice you would offer to individuals considering volunteering with the Philadelphia Furniture Bank or a similar organization?

Harriet: "For anyone considering volunteering at the Philadelphia Furniture Bank or other nonprofit organization, know that you can make a big difference to people who are going through a difficult time, no matter what their circumstances might be. Just knowing that somebody cares about you can make a huge impact on a person. Be kind and keep an open mind."

Interested in volunteering at the Philadelphia Furniture Bank? 

Apply Today!