By Carlie Connolly
For Sylvan Lake News
Sylvan Lake resident Wayne Collins, who is now semi-retired, has been collecting and donating furniture to those in need for around 11 years.
It began at his current job working for a property management company where he cuts grass in the summer and shovels snow in the winter.
The company would find some furniture left over from tenants and would call Collins to take it to the dump but he’d keep it and give the various pieces to those in need. From there, it’s expanded and has kept him busy every day.
“In a two-year period I gave over 400 beds away. The first year, nobody knew about me but I’ve done it long enough now. I’ve had a lady call me from Cold Lake. She had some stuff to donate and wondered if I’d pick it up. Well I’m sorry but I’m not going to Cold Lake to pick up furniture,” he said with a laugh.
He’s helped people from Red Deer and even those who have moved here from Ukraine.
“I get couches, I get dressers, I get all sorts of stuff.”
He helps people all through word of mouth, having had many people and businesses donate to him over the years.
Originally, Collins stored the items in his garage, but that didn’t last long with the number of items he receives.
The initiative is now helped out by the Sylvan Lake Food Bank, who takes care of the storage costs by renting out three storage spaces at Lakeside Storage.
Collins said he is hoping to slow down and pass this initiative off to his friend Bruce Bell, who has been helping him for around four years.
Bell said the largest turnover for them are mattresses.
“We go through 10 a month, at least,” he said.
Kitchen tables and dressers are also always in demand.
Bell said he’s thrilled to help others in need.
“I’ve met many people that have been so appreciative, whether it be a single mom or a new family that have moved in and they have absolutely nothing. Sometimes we will furnish a whole house or apartment. That’s the good part when you know that you’ve helped somebody out,” said Bell.