Who Do Your Donations Help?
In the early days, The Junkluggers relied on a single truck, painted bright green: the paint made the rust a little less noticeable, but also reminded us that we weren’t just any junk removal company. At our core, we were green. That meant, and still means, we care about protecting the earth just as much as we care about our bottom line.
Fast forward 12 years, and I’m proud to say we’ve become a multi-location franchise with many committed business owners. But looking back, what puts the biggest smile on my face isn’t how fast we’ve grown or our bright and shiny new trucks (no more Old Rusty!): It’s our focus on eco-friendly junk disposal. While other junk removal businesses leverage the phrase “eco-friendly” as a marketing tool, at Junkluggers, it’s a core value we operate by every day.
At Junkluggers, we’ve learned that part of what makes the junk removal business rewarding is helping people clean out their homes and businesses with respect for both their belongings and the environment. When customers realize they’re not filling up landfills in their cleanups, they always feel a palpable sense of relief and gratitude.
My very first job, back when it was Old Rusty and me, was for an elderly woman sorting through a lifetime of clothing, children’s toys, furniture, and knick-knacks. As she downsized to a more manageable home, it appeared to the casual observer that she was merely sorting through piles of junk. But it was clear to anyone watching with a caring heart that she was sifting through a lifetime of memories. To her, each item had great value and deserved to be re-homed. She couldn’t bear the thought of parting with anything, let alone tossing her belongings into the trash.
Working with my first client taught me to look at so-called “junk” with new eyes. There’s a great deal of value and potential in what some people need to get rid of. These items shouldn’t be hauled out to the curb for the garbage man when they can be put to good use! An old sofa can easily furnish an apartment for an abuse victim who’s starting over with nothing but the clothes on her back. A slightly out-of-date winter coat can more than adequately provide warmth on a bitterly cold winter’s day. Old toys can certainly bring joy to children who’ve lost their homes in natural disasters. In a disposable, lightning fast society, we sometimes lose sight of how easily one person’s trash can become another, less fortunate person’s, treasure.
Imagine how thrilled I was when I heard about the good work my friend and Junkluggers franchisee Jeff Willner is doing in New Jersey. The Junkluggers of Northern New Jersey in Bergen County has partnered with Making It Home, a local charitable organization that supplies home furnishings to those in need. Victims of natural disasters, people moving out of halfway houses or homeless shelters, displaced military Veterans, and senior citizens have all benefitted from their unique partnership with The Junkluggers.
When Jeff and his team pick up discarded furniture from their clients, they assess its condition and take acceptable pieces directly to the Making It Home donation center. From there, it’s passed on to families in need and placed in homes built by Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, or The United Way.
Though the relationship between The Junkluggers and Making It Home is still relatively new, Jeff’s team has donated several truckloads of furniture to through this public/private partnership.
“We’ve learned to keep an eye out for discarded furniture that meets the criteria for donating to Making It Home,” says Willner. “We set it aside and drop it off at their donation center as soon as possible.”
These donations go a long way towards providing a stable environment for struggling families in Bergen County and are the exact model I had in mind when I started The Junkluggers so long ago. Businesses can be a force for good, both for the earth and the community, if they’re started with intention and commitment. Jeff Willner and the work he does with Making It Home is proof of that. Overall, The Junkluggers has furnished dozens of homes with donated furniture and recycled over 60 tons of material each year, and I look forward to seeing all the good recycled, and repurposed items will do in the future.
If you have unused or outdated furniture around the house you’d like to donate, let us pick it up and haul it away for you! In addition to the great work Jeff and his team are doing in Bergen County, Junkluggers franchisees across the country work with a wide variety of local organizations to place donated furniture where it can do the most good. Find a location near you and schedule a pickup today.