We donate our time and services to furnish apartments for those in need
Junkluggers is Lightening The Load in Portland Oregon
The Pacific Northwest is known for being green. After being in operation for nearly a year, the Junkluggers of Portland, OR franchise, realized our “green” efforts needed to extend beyond just the environment. Over the past several years Portland has seen a significant rise in houselessness. Many factors contribute – steep cost of living, addiction, mental illness and limited affordable housing. As a community-focused and green-minded business who receives an abundance of good furniture and housewares – we knew we had to find a way to help.
In the starting months of our franchise, we reached out to various local charities who accept furniture donations. We connected with Parrott Creek Child and Family Services who manages several programs, one that specifically supports vulnerable young women and their children.
Our conversation led to their goal – securing housing for homeless young mothers – ones who commonly have come out of a recovery program and/or been victims of domestic violence.
We asked them, “when you secure housing for these homeless, young mothers, is it furnished?”
The answer was no.
Parrott Creek staff explained the difficulty of their client’s situation. Here is a young mother who’s been living on the streets, or in the Parrott Creek residence after addiction treatment. The only belongings she owns are some clothes. Once housing is secured she’s on her own. It’s hard. These women typically don’t have any savings nor a vehicle.
How does someone coming off the street or out of a residential program
furnish an empty apartment when they have no money and no car?
We realized Junkluggers could be the solution. We have what they need. Our idea of “Lighten The Load” was born. We would set aside an apartment kit in our warehouse - furnishings & housewares to fill a 2 bedroom apartment.
Soon, we got a call from Parrott Creek– they had just connected with a young woman who was living in her car with her 4 month old baby. They were able to secure an apartment for her, but she literally had nothing more than one bag of clothes. Could Junkluggers help?
Within a day we delivered great quality couches, a queen bed, dressers, a rocking chair, end tables, lamps, a television, dining table and chairs, bookshelf, dressers, desk, microwave, linens, and kitchen supplies. It was a great day. Especially for Taylor and her baby.
“Lighten the Load” has multiple benefits.
By donating the apartment furnishing we significantly lighten the load of the recipient. Procuring furniture shouldn’t be what the person has to worry about and struggle through. We want to help set this person up for success as they embark on a new trajectory to get life on track – functioning as a single parent, getting financially self-sufficient while remaining sober and clean.
There is a benefit to the franchise as well. Often, viable furniture gets rejected by donation centers for myriad reasons – they don’t take microfiber couches, the leather recliner has a small tear, the dining table doesn’t have a full set of chairs, the bookshelf is particle board, etc. By setting these items aside in our warehouse for our Lighten the Load apartment kit, we lighten the Junklugger load headed for the landfill.
An additional Lighten the Load benefit we didn’t originally foresee, is the positive impact on our staff. In today’s challenging employment market, it’s helped us find and keep talent that is truly aligned with the Junklugger’s mission and values. As our crew members help deliver furnishings to these recipients, they feel part of something bigger and better than just another job. They gain deeper respect and trust in us as the franchise owners and end up being more loyal, committed to the brand, and serving as genuine advocates with regular paying customers.
So far we’ve completed five “Lighten the Load” deliveries.
12 couches & chairs
9 mattresses and bed frames
Over 50 hours of staff time
5 parents unburdened from finding a way to furnish an empty apartment
11 children get to have beds and live in a home that is furnished
Living out “Be a mensch”
Saved over $750 in disposal fees
Increased Employee Morale and Retention
A Unique and Genuine Brand Differentiator in local market
Increased our “Green” and “Community-focused” credibility
Saving still-viable, but otherwise landfill-bound items find a home.
Helping our paying customers know even their non-donatable items can still live on.
Lighten The Load furnishing collection, storage, and delivering isn’t without challenge. It’s not always easy, nor well timed – but it is always the right thing to do. Delivery dates and times constantly shift and get rescheduled since there are several conditions impacting the client’s move – government housing approval, placement, inspection, and case worker availability. Communication with the client can be very inconsistent and sometimes they end up just ghosting. We typically coordinate directly with the Parrott Creek case worker and they attend the furniture delivery. For success, we all know we have to remain flexible. Both Parrott Creek and their client also remain flexible with Junklugger’s schedule and understand that our paying customer’s appointments come first.
For us, Junkluggers isn’t just about making money. It’s about living out the corporate values - helping our community, especially those members with the greatest need, while caring about the environment.