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Delivering Donated Goods for Thousands of People in Need

July 18, 2018

When people need to find affordable housing in Houston, Texas, finding a place to live is only part of the battle. Once housing is found, furnishing those living spaces is another big hurdle.
The Houston Furniture Bank steps in to help furnish those homes using donations from the local community. The organization’s goal is to make Houston a city where a child will never have to sleep on a cold, hard floor.
“The government provides housing but has no budget for furniture,” explained Randy Waldman, controller of the Houston Furniture Bank.
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This charitable organization picks up donated furniture and delivers it to people in need, originally creating routes on a wall map using a step ladder.
But tragedy struck in August 2015 when the nonprofit’s building and trucks were destroyed by a fire. The future looked dim, and 13 jobs were lost in the flames.
Randy saw a way forward. “I responded by creating a web cart for our clients to obtain furniture,” he said. “MyRouteOnline was a part of the plan that I implemented to get furniture from donors to recipients. Jobs were saved, trucks were donated, warehouse space was offered, and we continued operations.”
Today, the Houston Furniture Bank uses MyRouteOnline to create at least one route per day for each of its two trucks. Those routes change every day, and each truck makes approximately five stops.
“MyRouteOnline has never failed us,” Randy said. “It is always there and always works. New office workers pick up on it really, really fast.”
Furniture Bank employees created an Excel document with a dated file name to upload to MyRouteOnline. Then they use Microsoft Paint to create a final document. “We like it because we can size text and use colors to alert the truck drivers of unusual situations—like bad dog, money due, etc.,” Randy explained.
The improved efficiency in fuel, manpower and mileage has contributed to keeping the Furniture Bank productive.
“The term ‘non-profit’ does not mean that we do not need money to pay staff, fuel, electricity, phones, etc.,” Randy said. “Trucking is our biggest expense as our product—furniture—is all donated. Without efficiency in our delivery/pickup system (thanks to MyRouteOnline), we would fail to exist.”