This week, we spoke with team member, Erin Molloy, about her involvement with an organization near and dear to Genoa’s heart, Home Again Furniture Bank. For those who don’t know, Home Again works through a referral system of local agencies to help end furniture poverty in the Northeast Avalon region of Newfoundland by providing gently-used furniture and household items to individuals and families in need.
Erin has been involved with Home Again since the beginning of their journey and the stars aligned when it led her to Genoa. We’re so excited about this interview and to give you a look behind the scenes of what involvement with this organization looks like and why we’re so passionate about it.
Can you tell us about how you first became involved with Home Again Furniture Bank?
Erin: I became involved with Home Again in the very early days of the organization. I worked with a marketing agency at the time where I led the branding development and launch event that introduced Home Again publicly. That was in late 2015 and I haven’t looked back since!
What does your involvement look like today?
Erin: Since working with Home Again as a client in my agency days, I became a very active volunteer. I was so struck by the cause and felt an instant connection with the people involved, I knew I wanted to be a part of this – to help end furniture poverty in the region Home Again serves.
Over the years, I have led committees for marketing-communications and its flagship fundraising event, the Home Again Housewarming, and still help with those initiatives. Today, I am a board member on its newly formed Board of Directors. In between all of this, I keep in close contact with the team at Home Again to check in, brainstorm, whatever’s needed! Home Again is a part of who I am now.
As someone who works closely with Home Again and Genoa, can you briefly describe our company’s partnership with them?
Erin: This partnership definitely takes up a special corner of my heart – it’s because of Home Again that I am even an employee here at Genoa today. The team at Home Again actually introduced me to Genoa, so, I was fortunate enough to see and learn more about the partnership a couple of years before joining the company fulltime.
Genoa has been connected to Home Again since the early, early days when the organization was just an idea. Our CEO, Gina Pecore, came together with a group of community members to help form the organization, and since that time, Home Again has been our charity of choice. Along with being a regular corporate donor, before the pandemic hit, Genoa employees would board the moving vans on what’s known as Furniture Friday to help pick up furniture donations and deliver them to those who need them most. I’m really looking forward to the day that we can hop back on those trucks again. Beyond this, we see the organization as a true partner of Genoa’s by always looking for different ways we can collaborate to uplift our communities in a bigger, better way. It’s not just about delivering someone a bed. It’s what that bed truly represents – physical health, dignity, comfort, and stability to focus on work, school and welcoming family and friends back into homes and lives. Something everyone deserves and our society needs.
What is your favourite part about working with this organization? What have you learned?
Erin: Of course, working on anything that brings social and economic justice and equality into people’s lives is hugely rewarding, and I think, necessary. We all have a role to play there. But to focus on one thing I love about Home Again, it is the dedicated, hard working team, who have become like family to me. From them, I have learned how capable we all are of making change possible – we all have something to offer. That simple ideas are the best ideas. That by bringing together a network of community-minded people, we can solve big problems and touch thousands of lives for the better. Bonus points for what Home Again has been able to keep out of landfills: 367 tonnes to be exact.
I hear that you’re participating in the Heads without Beds campaign. Can you briefly explain what this is and why you chose to participate?
Erin: It is an event where you join others (this year, virtually) by fundraising and sleeping without your bed for just one night so others in our region won’t have to. I try to support Home Again however I can, and I want to teach my daughter, who’s four, from an early age, the importance of doing our part and understanding the needs that are out there. Involving her in something like this, I believe, can easily engage her, and hopefully start her journey as a contributing member to her community. Also, while I have been involved with the organization for a long time, I still have a lot to learn. I think this initiative will help give an even bigger understanding about how our fellow neighbours may be living. A tangible reminder about why this work is important, and how there’s so much more to do.
If you are looking for something different to do with your family or bubble that supports a vital cause at the same time, I encourage you to learn more about how to get involved.
Why do you think it’s important for a company like Genoa to support our community?
Erin: Individuals, businesses, charities, governments, we don’t exist as silos. We can’t. None of us can survive or thrive unless the entire ecosystem is functioning symbiotically. It’s the right, responsible thing to do. We don’t get better and move ahead on our own. Supporting the community brings purpose to the work we do – a deeper meaning, something greater than the company itself.
For employees that aren’t sure how to become involved in the community, what advice would you give them?
Erin: Do you find yourself thinking about a certain social or economic issue and wish you could do more? Or are you passionate about things like the arts, physical health, mental well-being, food security, shopping local, nature, the environment? Start by researching groups or talking with family, friends and colleagues that support the causes and elements of life that have meaning or bring joy to you, and ask where help may be needed. Your level of involvement is up to you – every hour and every dollar count more than you’ll know. Remember that there are many ways to support – you can help spread the word, you can offer your professional expertise, you can roll up your sleeves and give your time, you can become a monthly donor, or attend a fundraiser. I would also encourage everyone to set a goal for themselves this year – to use the 8 hours of paid volunteer time offered by Genoa – start there and see where you end up!
Can you summarize why community involvement is important in 3 words?