January 23, 2021
On Saturday, Jan 23, once again, morning volunteers gathered to receive donations from the generous Marin community. Practicing careful COVID-19 safety protocols, we unloaded items from cars as masked drivers pulled into the lot of our host location - St. Luke Presbyterian Church in San Rafael. Around 11:00, after picking up the heavy items like sofas and dining tables, volunteer movers from Birch Circle Moving and North Bay Moving joined us. Everyone worked together to load the two trucks, which then took items to each of the two families' homes where our afternoon volunteers worked their magic.
A Mom and Her Family
We were introduced to a mom and her four children through North Marin Community Services. A couple of years ago, the family moved into an apartment in San Rafael. At that time she was working; the kids were in school and daycare. But early this year the pandemic hit and her children began remote learning from home, forcing the mom to stay home. Then, in September, a fire destroyed their apartment and the family lost everything. The family of five bounced around from friend to friend’s house, sleeping on floors. Eventually, they were able to stay in a hotel, through the help of St. Vincent de Paul. Next, North Marin Community Services helped them. Finally, the family was able to move into their own apartment. The mom's goal is to be self-sufficient and not dependent on any social aid. She wants to be an alcohol and drug counselor and has volunteered in that capacity already. Later this month she’ll begin online studies for the required certification.
While grateful to have a new apartment, Mom and her children had basically nothing when they moved in. Their transformed living room is now a cozy space for the whole family to spend quality time. The youngest child got their very own armchair. A new family member was sitting in it, waiting for them, when they arrived.
Family meals will now be shared around this big dining room table, with beautiful needlepoint cushioned chairs. What a great area for everyone to come together and catch up on the day's activities. If you look closely, you'll see one child's special art table in the back left corner. They literally cried with joy when they saw it.
The mom and one of her children share a bedroom with brand new beds and comforters in their favorite colors. We turned a large closet into Mom's office, where she can study for her online classes.
Two of the kids were so happy with their new bike-themed beds, the colorful paintings and a desk/study space.
The teenager got their own room! Their new bed, linens, painting and desk give them privacy and a quiet place to study.
A painting, a plant and a pretty window covering made a huge difference to this powder room.
And when spring arrives, the family can enjoy their patio, thanks to beautiful outdoor furniture from a generous donor. The family was thrilled with their transformed home.
Our second 'family' is Morris, a single man. As a child he lived in an abusive home. He left home at the age of 14 and has lived on the streets, primarily in tents, ever since. Until now, Morris had never slept in a bed in his entire life; even as a child at home he slept on the floor. Now, thanks to the efforts of Marin Health and Human Services, Odyssey Team, he finally has his own apartment. Morris was so thrilled to finally have his own roof over his head. After first visiting his apartment, we immediately had a brand new bed, linens and other "Starter Kit" items delivered to him. Due to disabilities, Morris has been unable to work but he plans to start taking online classes once he gets settled.
After living on the streets since the age of 14, Morris finally has a comfy living room, including a beautiful leather sofa. You can see his new balcony hang out space in the background.
Morris' new bed got a brand new comforter in his favorite colors, which matched his new shower curtain (unseen) perfectly. He also now has his own "office," where he can study.
Voila! The "new" dining area, complete with elegant wood table. And to top it off, a delicious 'Welcoming Home" basket from a thoughtful donor.
Morris Arrives Home
These photos just slightly capture how overwhelmed and happy Morris felt upon arriving home. From living in a tent on the street to this. He posed with his girlfriend on his newly furnished balcony.
You can see how overwhelmed Morris was when he saw his "new" bedroom. He and his girlfriend, Angie, wanted us to take a picture of them on their "new" balcony. The next day, we received the following note from Morris
I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am for the blessing your team of amazing human beings has given me. thank you from the bottom of my heart for your part in helping change my life around. I still can't believe this is MY new home!
He wanted his note to go to you, our wonderful donors, as well. It's truly a privilege to be able to help such a deserving person. Heartfelt thanks to all who participated in so many ways to make these transformations happen.
With much gratitude,
The Welcoming Home Team