Our Mission

Turning empty places into comfortable living spaces

NW Furniture Bank helps to restore Hope, Dignity and Stability in our communities by recycling donated furniture to people in need.

How we help

NW Furniture Bank serves as the primary furniture source for agencies across Pierce County, South King, and Clark County, boasting locations in Tacoma and Vancouver, WA. Our organization collects and warehouses furniture for clients referred to us by community partners. As families and individuals progress through programs and transitional housing to rebuild their lives, they often find themselves with little or no possessions. Affording housing and food is a struggle for many, making basic furniture an unattainable luxury, including essentials like a bed or a table.

Furniture is not just a convenience; it is a fundamental need that profoundly influences how people perceive themselves and their performance in the workplace or at school. Clients initiate the process by completing a furniture request form with an Approved Caseworker. Subsequently, they schedule a shopping appointment with us and are paired with a volunteer shopper who assists them in navigating our warehouse to select the furniture needed for their household.

Learn more about the steps to receive furniture here.

Serving Our Community

Willing furniture store partners and local donations consistently supply us with new and gently used furniture. We cater to individuals and families facing various challenges, such as victims of domestic abuse, those experiencing loss due to fire or natural disasters, foster children, and particularly families emerging from transitional housing seeking to reconstruct their lives. Furniture assistance is available to anyone residing in stable housing.

How we started

In 2005, our founder, Bill Lemke, conceived the idea while collaborating with a youth group from Harbor Covenant Church at the San Francisco Food Bank. Observing the efficient distribution of food from various sources to agencies in the Bay area, Bill envisioned applying the same model to furniture. Leveraging his 30 years of experience in the furniture industry, he identified the potential for a mutually beneficial business model for both the public and furniture stores/manufacturers. Donating damaged or outdated furniture could free up valuable inventory dollars and floor space, enabling dealers to benefit from tax deductions while providing quality furniture to those in need.

 

Initially, Bill intended to leave this idea in San Francisco and focus on building his manufacturing representative business in the Northwest. However, two factors altered his course – the persistent nature of the idea and the untimely passing of his son in November 2005. Inspired by his son’s desire to do “something of significance,” Bill couldn’t shake off the concept of a furniture bank, which had become a restless late-night idea.

In 2006, during a vacation to Orlando, Bill and Joelene visited The Mustard Seed, a 15,000 square foot furniture bank. The director’s words resonated deeply: “If you two don’t do this, you will be two of the most miserable people on earth.” Convinced to explore the feasibility of a furniture bank in Pierce County, the Lemkes received support from The Old Cannery furniture store, which provided 1200 square feet of donated space and the funds raised for their son’s medical expenses.

 

The journey began with the first delivery in 2006, using a borrowed truck and purchased mattresses. By 2007, NW Furniture Bank officially became a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Today, thanks to the dedication of hundreds of volunteers and the support of community donors, we serve over 100 families monthly, providing essential household furniture.