The Furniture Bank

I get a lot of questions about the Furniture Bank, so I thought that I would discuss it here for everyone to use as a reference.

Through our Furniture Bank we are helping a wide range of people in need including homeless people who are transitioning to permanent housing, people starting over following the loss of household items due to a variety of reasons, people with disabilities, veterans, and seniors.

In order to access the Furniture Bank clients need a referral from one of our partners. The referral will get them up to two gently used mattresses and box springs, two dressers, a kitchen table and chairs and a sofa or love seat. Clients have to pay a $10 per item administrative fee, plus tax.

In addition to having access to the Furniture Bank, clients can get 20% off in the Thrift Store. They can use this discount to get plates, clothing, other furniture not offered in the Furniture Bank, anything they need. This discount is not available on new mattresses, new box springs, bed frames, mattress covers and jewelry, which are already being sold below market prices. The discount is also not good on delivery, which we do offer.

Referrals are good for 90 days after the day the forms are dated and signed and a valid photo ID is required. Clients can come back as often as they like to make sure they get everything they need. The Furniture Bank runs on a first come, first served basis, so clients are not guaranteed to find everything they need on the first visit. Because of this we do not recommend that they rent trucks on the first visit. We will hold items for 48 hours while they arrange for pick-up/ delivery.

The Helping Hands Furniture Bank is located at 85A State Street in North Haven. No appointment is necessary, but clients do have to check in at the Thrift Store located at 77 State Street. Hours are as follows:

Tuesday – Friday from 11:00am to 4:00pm

Saturday from 9:30am to 4:00pm

Closed Sunday and Monday

If you have any questions please email me at bridget@helpinghandsctfb.com or call 203-387-2266.

Jewish Family Service Partners with Helping Hands for Food Drive


JFS New Haven, CT

Orange, CT, January 9, 2014 – Jewish Family Service of New Haven needs food and toiletry donations to keep their food pantry shelves full and is partnering with Helping Hands Community Thrift Store for a food and toiletry drive. Bring in non-perishable food or toiletries items to either Helping Hands locations in Orange or North Haven and receive 20% off one item at the store.  All food and toiletries collected will benefit the JFS Food Pantry.

Jewish Family Service is a non-profit social service organization that works with individuals and families in the Greater New Haven area. The Jewish Family Service Food Pantry distributed nearly 100,000 lbs of food during 2013, which is the equivalent to 76,923 meals. This supplemental food helped 2,823 families (approximately 5,300 people last year).

Hunger is a problem all year long, not just at the holidays. According to the Connecticut Food Bank, there are approximately 520,000 people in our state at risk of hunger every year. With the recent cuts to food stamps and benefits, the JFS Food Pantry is seeing an increase in requests for food assistance.  These cuts are affecting not only those who are unemployed but also senior citizens and the elderly, the working poor and many families with children in our local community.  You can help make a difference in their lives by donating to those less fortunate and receive a discount for your efforts.  It’s a win-win situation.

Helping Hands Community Thrift Store is raising money for over 175 local non-profits and providing furniture essentials to the clients of their social service partners. Last year Helping Hands customers donated 1,330 lbs of food to Jewish Family Service. This year the goal is 2,500 lbs. Customers who bring in a non-perishable food or toiletry donation will receive 20% off an item from the thrift stores.

Helping Hands Community Thrift Store has locations at 334 Boston Post Road in Orange (diagonally across from Chips) and 77 State Street in North Haven (diagonally across from Agway). Visit www.helpinghandsctfb.com or www.jfsnh.org for more information.

Meet Our Partners: VETS LINK

In honor of Veteran’s Day I would like to focus on one of our partners who is very active working with veterans, VETS LINK.

VL LOGO Latest

VETS LINK is a 501(c)3 service organization, whose mission is to assist veterans and their families through hands-on financial mentoring, outreach and workforce development services. This is accomplished by linking them to important resources upon reintegration into their communities from active duty. The proven credentials of VETS LINK stem from its founder and director, Peter G. Curtis, a Vietnam veteran. His years of experience and expertise have led the way in guiding our veterans in such areas as access to capital, credit repair, lower interest loans – specifically for vets, jobs/self-employment, training, scholarships, sustainable business development, (green) affordable housing and more. The competences he brings are reflected in the resource partners he has put in place to provide the expert guidance that will accomplish this mission.

Because veterans are often reluctant to ask for assistance, our veterans’ reaching out to them is the model to be used by VETS LINK. “By Veterans, for Veterans.”

Major financial matters often face those on deployment and their families, particularly those in the Reserve and National Guard or those recently separated who are trying to reintegrate themselves into everyday life. They often need information and education, but more importantly, “one-on-one” services from veterans who have the experience and/or professional expertise to assist them.

Financial literacy and responsible home ownership are critical areas. Many people are woefully inadequate when it comes to financial matters. This holds true for veterans. More recent service members whose environment is generally tightly controlled have little practical experience in financial matters.

Entrepreneurship and business start-ups are on the minds of many veterans. Starting a business, business ownership and running a successful business, require significant assistance, not the least of which is “capital.” Access to capital is one of the most significant issues that a start-up or established business owner can face. Navigating to positive cash flow by writing a business plan with the necessary financial statements to secure capital is a daunting task and not easily accomplished by the neophyte. Writing a competent business plan requires significant mentoring, which is rarely available to veterans.

Training and “Jobs” are on the minds of many veterans. With the environment of “green,” i.e., sustainability, the need for mentored direction is even more crucial.

VETS LINK is one organization that a veteran might turn to for help in unraveling one’s direction in a very complex world.

VETS LINK will operate as a Not-for-Profit 501 © 3 under the Federal Tax code. It will raise funds via grants, fundraisers and other activities designed to maximize the exposure of the organization to the world at large, but most particularly to the veteran population by “outreach” programs. It is not an easy population to reach due to its diversity, but the veterans who run the organization have wide access and will use the organizations and business relationships they have developed over a lifetime of military, civic, business and academic service to reach this population.

Tax-deductible donations enable VETS LINK to help our veteran community grow in the way that they deserve in order to prosper… a small sacrifice on our parts compared to the selfless sacrifices by these women, and men who have bravely served to keep us safe…a noble way to pay it forward as a token of thanks to them. Anyone making a $25 donation will be sent VETS LINK tee shirt as a token of thanks. Donations may be made by visiting www.vetslinkconnecticut.com - Donations page. You can also donate gently used items in the name of VETS LINK to Helping Hands.

Another way to show support is by visiting our Upcoming Events page and participating in one or more of the events.

On behalf of our veterans, VETS LINK thanks everyone for their support.

Welcome to Helping Hands

Welcome to the Helping Hands Community Thrift Store Blog. Here we will explore the Thrift Store and its employees, look at some of the great things you can do with thrift store finds and meet some of the amazing partners that we raise money for. In short, this blog is everything Helping Hands. I think we’ll start with who we are!

Helping Hands Community Thrift Store & Furniture Bank is a double-goal venture created in 2010 by partners Steve Greenberg, Allen Klein, and Karen Greenberg.  The Helping Hands Thrift Stores are fundraisers for our non-profit members and the Helping Hands Furniture Bank is a resource for the clients of social service members who are in need.

Our Thrift Stores are filled with items donated by the supporters of our non-profit members.  Donations can be dropped off, or we offer a pick-up service for larger items like furniture and appliances.  Upon receipt, the donations are barcoded to the designated non-profit which then sends a thank you letter to the donor.  When the donated items are sold, 18% of the sale price goes to the non-profit.  We’ve issued checks to members in excess of $800 per month, which has helped fund their programs.

Our Furniture Bank is available on a referral basis and offers gently used beds, dressers, tables & chairs, and sofas for a $10 administrative fee per item.  We are helping a wide range of people in need including homeless people who are transitioning to permanent housing, people starting over following the loss of household items due to a variety of reasons, people with disabilities, veterans, and seniors.

Helping Hands Community Thrift Store & Furniture Bank is privately funded.  We act as “brokers” for our non-profit members.  We hire from the community and have created job training positions for individuals with disabilities.  We are truly trying to make a positive difference in the community.

To arrange for a furniture donation pick-up, please call 203-782-4800.  If you have questions about Helping Hands, please contact Steve Greenberg at 203-387-2266.