November 14, 2020
It takes a community. And once again, the caring and generous Marin community banded together to help their new neighbors in need. On Saturday, November 14th, three formerly homeless families left their almost bare apartments for the afternoon to return to real homes—fully furnished and outfitted, comfortable and stylish. This was our first time at helping three, not two, families all in one afternoon!
Sponsors and donors were amazing, as always.
- Once again, Birch Bay Company (formerly Birch Circle Movers and North Bay Moving) donated a large truck and movers.
- Once again, City Carpets gave us brand new carpets, one for each family.
- Once again, United Markets prepared individually chosen sandwiches for each volunteer.
- Once again, Green Door Design donated orchid arrangements for each family.
- Once again, St. Luke Presbyterian Church let us use their heavenly site. Church members also donated funds to purchase all the beds for Families 1 and 3.
Individual donors donated new comforters, sheets and towels, along with beautiful pieces of gently used furniture; one bought and assembled brand new desks, chairs, lamps and school supplies for the children who are going to school remotely; another donor painted an original art piece depicting one child's favorite animals: dinosaurs (see the picture and artist attribution in Family 3 pictures). Cash donations went toward the purchase of new beds and the hiring of an additional moving company. The impact of everyone working together to make it happen was truly amazing.
On the (thankfully) sunny morning of November 14th, our wonderful volunteers kicked off the day's activities at scenic St. Luke Presbyterian Church. Following our COVID protocol, they checked in and boxed up items dropped off by donors. Movers brought the large furniture items to the church at midday. Volunteers and movers sorted items by family and delivered them to the three apartments in the afternoon. Volunteers made the beds, hung curtains and pictures, outfitted the kitchen and arranged the furniture.
Nothing compares with the happy, and sometimes tearful, faces of the families as they return to their "new" homes.
With much gratitude to our sponsors, donors and fellow volunteers,
The Welcoming Home Team
Morning Volunteers Organize Donor Drop Offs
Family 1 was referred to us by Marin Housing Authority and Homeward Bound. Jennifer and her three children; Nestor (10), Anthony (4) and Eliana (2) had been recently homeless ... forced to live in their truck for a while. They tried to get into a shelter in the East Bay but were unsuccessful, due to the increase in housing demand as a result of the pandemic. Finally, they were referred to Homeward Bound in Marin, where luckily they found a temporary place in a family shelter and then—finally—their own apartment. Tragically, Nestor’s father was murdered before Nestor was born. Anthony is a highly active little boy. Eliana has special needs, plus a weakened immune system and is unable to walk. As you can imagine, Jennifer has her hands full. Your donations have made their lives so much better, truly giving them a fresh start.
Living Room: Before and After
A welcoming living room for the family to gather after their long, busy days! A beautiful orchid from Green Door Designs in Mill Valley decorates the coffee table.
Nestor's Room: Before and After
Ten-year-old Nestor was delighted with his comfy new bed, complete with cool new comforter. The best part was the anime-themed pictures he loves, chosen by a very thoughtful donor. Having his own desk complete with school supplies makes homework and projects a lot easier.
Anthony and Eliana's Room: Before and After
Toddlers Anthony and Eliana now have a cheery, colorful room to share. Eliana will get a spot on the bunk bed once she graduates from the crib.
Mom's Bedroom: Before and After
After sleeping in her truck and then a shelter, mom Jennifer is so grateful to have a peaceful sanctuary. All the new beds were funded by the awesome folks at St. Luke Presbyterian Church.
Dining Area: Before and After
The dining room can now actually be used for dining! Eliana gets her own special seat.
Kitchen: Before And After
The newly outfitted and accessorized kitchen is now a useful space for meal prep. Jennifer and the children can now enjoy their "new" home.
The next morning, a grateful Jennifer wrote: "Thank you guys so much. I am in tears! Honestly my kids love it, I am speechless and crying. The team has made a huge impact on our lives. Thank you guys so much. This truly is an incredible program with a lot of thought and care put into it and it shows. Have a blessed day and thanks again. I feel like I can't say it enough."
After being homeless, Victor, a single dad, and his 11-yr. old son were referred to Welcoming Home by local non-profit Homeward Bound. Victor worked as a food delivery driver in San Francisco until February of last year, when a ride-service driver ran into his motor-scooter. It was a very serious accident that left Victor with a broken back, broken neck, broken knee, nerve damage and PTSD. He suffers from constant pain. As he put it, he became unemployed, disabled and homeless all in one day. He’s scheduled for a fourth back surgery soon. His 11-yr-old son is in the sixth grade. He loves biking, specifically off-road sports cycling, motocross.
Victor and his son lived in a Homeward Bound family shelter after he was released from hospital. The two just recently moved into an apartment with only a couple old mattresses to their name. Victor said that having a real home, with furniture, pictures, and places to sit and study will mean the world to them, especially to his son.
This entire transformation of this family's home was sponsored by local residents Jill, Gaby and their generous group of friends. You can read about how companies, organizations and other groups can be family sponsors here. Our deepest gratitude to Gaby, Jill and friends for doing so much to give this pair a well deserved fresh start.
Living Room: Before And After
The first photo shows some "not so gently used" items the Dad had managed to get for their living room when we first visited him. After Gaby, Jill and their friends' hard work, the room was transformed into a beautiful refuge.
Dining Area: Before And After
This new dining area includes not only the handsome table and chairs but also a stylish baker's rack. You can get a peek of their new patio chairs through the sliding door.
Father's Bedroom: Before and After
Victor was sleeping on a borrowed mattress, on the floor—very difficult to get to with all of his serious injuries. Hopefully, he can get a better night's rest in his new bed. Taking online English classes will be a lot easier, too, with his "new" desk and chair.
Victor Jr.'s Bedroom: Before and After
Victor Jr. didn't have a bed. Now he has a comfy place to sleep with a motocross mural watching over him.
Gaby, Jill and their friends bought Victor Jr. a brand new bike. What a great surprise!
Kitchen: Before and After
From a bachelor pad kitchen to a homey one equipped with everything they'll need to cook healthy meals.
Here are the "Victors" enjoying their new sofa. Victor Sr. sent us a note the next day. Here's the translation: “Thank your team for everything. Everything was beautiful and wonderful. Blessings to all the people who participated in furnishing and decorating this place.”
Stephanie and her five-year-old son Zion were in a domestic violence situation for some time. Arrests and restraining orders didn't help. Finally, Stephanie realized she and Zion had to flee. They had nowhere to go, but luckily were able to connect with the Center for Domestic Peace, which provided them with transitional housing and safety until Stephanie and Zion were able to get Section 8 housing. They just moved in a few weeks ago. The Center provided them with some basic essentials. Otherwise, their home was empty. As we did for the other two families, we had new beds with some basic sheets and blankets delivered to them immediately. Thanks to the wonderful members of St. Luke Presbyterian Church in San Rafael for funding the beds.
Stephanie has a part-time administrative job, which she can do from home. She calls Zion her "blessing," a "miracle." Her foremost wish is to provide a safe, healthy environment for her son and to develop her skills so that she can grow in her career to be able to provide better opportunities for Zion.
Living Room: Before and After
A bare living room becomes a stylish and cozy space for Mom and Zion.
Dining Area: Before and After
The apartment had a nice dining area but it was made even better with a cool table, chairs and artwork.
Zion's Bedroom: Before and After
Note the beautiful original painting of dinosaurs in Zion's bedroom—they're his favorite. The painting was created by Matt Omernick, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Akili Interactive, headquartered in Larkspur. Another thoughtful donor selected a dinosaur comforter for Zion, so he can sleep with dinosaurs all around him. And a third donor gave him a new, adjustable desk that will grow with him!
Mom's Bedroom: Before and After
This peacefully decorated room offers mom a cozy space of her own.
Zion and his mom Stephanie are thrilled with their new home—thanks to all of you!
Stephanie wrote to us to say: I’m sitting here and I’m so overwhelmed with Gratitude. Please if there is anything I can do please let me know. I’m so appreciative. I have tears of joy. Thank you so much. Blessings to your team and organization. .... My son is so happy. His demeanor and confidence has changed. Thank you.”