In August, United Way East Ontario announced eight new Community Builder Award recipients being honoured for their unwavering support to their communities in these challenging times. Check out the full list of recipients here and read on to learn about recent recipient Nathalie Maione.
In 2005, after hearing about young families struggling to furnish their homes, Nathalie Maione began Helping with Furniture (HWF). HWF is a registered charity with over 200 volunteers who work around the clock to make sure young families can live comfortably in their new homes.
For more than 15 years, Nathalie and her team have served vulnerable communities in Ottawa by ensuring that they have a comfortable and cozy home that promotes success and well-being in their day-to-day lives.
When COVID-19 hit, Nathalie’s work changed dramatically, but that did not stop her from getting furniture to families. Although Nathalie had to make the difficult decision to halt operations with volunteers in mid-March, she continued solo—driving a Penske truck every week to collect donations and store them in the HWF warehouse.
“There are a lot of behind the scenes things that have to happen for families to receive their furniture; it takes a lot of coordination with the rest of the community.”
Nathalie has continued to collect furniture throughout the crisis and safely prepares it for families—collecting everything from gently-used furniture to children’s toys. Since she can’t deliver furniture without volunteers, she has come up with a new system where families come to HWF and pick up their items with borrowed transportation, sometimes making five trips to make it all fit.
Nathalie has continued her volunteer work all while working a full-time job at Rockcliffe Park Public School. Her belief is that everyone deserves a furnished home, and her devotion to assisting people in her community makes her an obvious Community Builder.