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How we got started

In 2006, my wife and I (Andrea and Julien) moved to an area of Montreal called Parc-Extension with the intention of getting involved in our neighbourhood.
Parc-Ex is a vibrant multicultural community that is home to thousands of immigrants and refugees who have just arrived in Canada. Statistics say that there are 75 different ethnic communities in Parc-Ex, and that 62% of its residents were born outside of Canada. It’s a densely-populated place where so many are trying to adapt to a new culture and way of life.
Over the years, we’ve been involved with a number of non-profit organisations and have developed friendships with many of our neighbours. After 5 years, we’re on intimate terms with our neighbourhood and we’ve noticed that there are certain needs that aren’t being met by local government and non-profit organisations. Frankly, we’ve made friends with numerous newly-arrived families who have gone for months without basic furniture in their homes: no beds, tables, chairs, couches, cribs. It seemed absurd to think of those empty apartments when so many people have excess furniture they’d like to give away.
I mentioned this absurdity at a talk on social justice that I gave at a conference in December 2010. Following that talk, some of the conference participants decided to act. They visited a number of churches in suburban Montreal, asking people to donate furniture. Thanks to these volunteers and a partnership with a handful of social workers at our local Health and Social Services Centre, we delivered forty pieces of furniture to a dozen families one day in December. 

We realized that this service could – and should – be offered on a regular basis in Parc-Ex. And voilà:  “Meubles et monde” was born.

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