Local furniture bank, theExchange, continues to grow thanks to community support

Published: Feb. 5, 2020 at 5:03 PM CST
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TheExchange is a furniture bank in La Crosse that provides furniture and household items to community members in need.

It all started four years ago when there was a drive to help 12 homeless veterans.

Volunteers saw such generosity from the area, they decided to create theExchange to help year-round.

"We used to be like, 'ahh... are we going to get any recipients coming in or any donations?' and the first year we were here, 2018, we served 314 household and we were bragging about it," said Joan Waniger, theExchange program coordinator. "We thought it was astounding. Now, this past year we served almost 500."

The organization is a non-profit made up of four coordinators and over 50 volunteers.

Grants help fund the organization that so many volunteers call rewarding.

"It's such a win-win. It's such an easy, gratifying, great way to not only be green and keep things out of the landfill, but we just get to be the people that make someone else's life easier," Waniger said.

There's a full list of what donations theExchange accepts on its website.

TheExchange says some of their most popular items are dressers and mattresses, which they can take since they aren't re-selling them.

The non-profit also has the support of the La Crosse Police Department.

"When they are in a time of need, we want to make sure that we reach out to our Facebook followers and let them know that there is a good place to get rid of some of that old furniture or old household items," said Captain Jason Melby of the La Crosse Police Department.

"They have been so good to us and supportive and we even have a few retired officers that help us with moving. They are so committed to the community," Waniger said.

Those in need of items from theExchange will need to come with an advocate from an agency that has identified their need.

For more information on theExchange,