The Repair For Good Program

Have some old furniture that you’re planning on getting rid of? Give it a second chance at Goodwill! About 2 years ago, Goodwill started Repair for Good, a program where volunteers with disabilities repair and redesign donated furniture.

Our team recently had a chance to meet Lukas, Manager of the Goodwill@Work program. He leads the Commercial Services & Repair for Good programs based out of the Goodwill Impact Centre, creating employment and volunteer opportunities for people with disabilities. Here is a look inside, where the upcycling magic happens.  

Goodwill Impact Centre – Repair for Good Warehouse

What got this program started?

A few years ago, Goodwill was only at 80% diversion of products from landfills. They found that a large portion of the products sent to landfills were often unpurchased furniture items that were damaged, ultimately leading them to the can. So, with room to make improvements, Repair for Good was born!   

Who’s involved?

Lorin is the team trainer with over 30 years of experience in construction. He directs volunteers on the furniture projects; teaching them how to use various tools and repair techniques. Lorin and Lukas work with their team to come up with the designs using feedback they get from shoppers and keep up with trending DIYs from Pinterest and Instagram as inspiration.   

Lorin using a cool spray gun

What goes into making the final product?

When furniture is donated at any Goodwill location, it is processed for quality. Any pieces that need a glow-up are then sent to the Impact Center. About 4 days a week, Lorin and the team of volunteers work on repairing, sanding, and painting the furniture. It’s hard work! Time, materials, and expertise go into the revamping process. You can see for yourself what it takes to make these amazing final products.

What difference does this program make?

The team at Goodwill works with these amazing volunteers to align their work with personal goals, developing valuable job skills and connecting them with potential employment opportunities. It’s also a space where one can get their hands dirty and be part of a community.  

Since the program started at the beginning of 2020 they have refurnished and sold 838 individual pieces which accounts for an estimated 15,000 kgs of furniture diverted from the landfill! This helped increase their total waste diversion from 80% up to 90%. Now that’s some feat! 


What can you do?

If you have something of your own to donate, you can go to any Goodwill store or the Impact Centre. Generally it’s recommended that donated furniture is in good condition, with only minimal wear, such as scratching, paint peeling, or small dents. Things like significant water damage, rotting wood, large broken or missing parts are typically not good for donation. If you’re unsure of the quality of your item, we suggest donating it directly at the Impact Centre and the Repair for Good team can check it out. 

Availability of Repair for Good products may vary by location, but keep an eye out next time you see a beautiful piece of furniture at your local Goodwill. It might have a higher price point than expected – but remember, it’s because a dedicated team has put some much needed time & skill into refinishing these pieces to give them new life in your home! You can even shop online if that’s more your thing, check out the online store with new products recently updated! Just know you’re not only getting a cool addition to your home, you’re investing in the work of the Repair for Good program, supporting people with disabilities and reducing unnecessary waste.  

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