Fuel for Life

Thank you to Boy Scouts Troop 237 from our Orinda chapter and Open Families from our Lafayette chapter.

You helped two families who were in darkness and brought them into the light in one day.

Your heart and efforts are appreciated by us, by the case managers, and the families you served. You have changed their lives. They no longer sleep in broken beds, they can all have a family dinner together at one table, and just as important, you brought peace, dignity, and happiness into their lives.

Family #1

The first family was referred to us by Operation Dignity. Mr. Jackson* is a 56 years old single father of four young children, 16-year-old Samuel Jr,  14-year-old Joseph, 11-year-old Crystal, and 9-year-old Marcus.

The family was homeless in and out of shelters for several years until Operation Dignity helped find them a home one year ago. Mr. Jackson has been clean and sober for over 3 years but the family has experienced a lot of trauma. Mr. Jackson is a wonderful father who tries very hard to the best of his ability and taking parenting courses to become a better dad to his children. Mr. Jackson just concluded a temporary job and is currently seeking full-time employment.

This family has never had a home to feel comfortable or safe. They have never had the opportunity to say this is home and this is where we will put down our roots. After Saturday, Troop 237 in Orinda, gave them all they needed and more to make a comfortable home!

* Names above changed for confidentiality

Before: Crystal's broken bed.
Before: Johnathan and Matthew's room.
Before: Stevie and Mr. Jackson's room.
Before: Dining room with broken chairs.

When our volunteers arrived, they organized into groups and got to work building beds, hanging photos, and making a home.

Volunteers unloading donations.
Volunteers coordinating distribution of donations.
Volunteer hanging photos.
Volunteers arranging furniture.

As they walked from room to room the shock and joy filled their faces!

Marcus seeing his room for the first time.
Joseph trying out his new bed.

11-year-old Crystal was crying from the moment she walked in the door, “I think I’m going to cry. Oh, no. Yes, I’m going to cry. Is this our home?! It’s so pretty.”

Being the only girl with four boys in the home, Crystal just cried when she saw her room fit for a teen girl,

“Oh I just love my room, thank you for my beautiful room!”

Crystal seeing her room for the first time.
After: A new vanity for Crystal.
After: Crystal's bedroom.
After: Marcus and Joseph's bedroom.
After: Living room.
After: Dining room.
After: Kitchen.
After: Dining room.
After: Patio.

“I’ve never seen anything so beautiful,” said Mr. Jackson. He hugged everyone and thanked them.

As the Jackson family hugged and thanked everyone, the eldest son said, “thank you, this is going to give us fuel!”

Family #2

The second family was also referred to us by Operation Dignity. The Barron* family has been through a lot of hardship, health problems, and homelessness.

It is a multi-generational household with Grandma Pat*, Teresa*the mother, 4 children and a great-grandchild living under one roof. Now with two members of the family employed they are making headway but they have never had the money to buy stable furniture and beds.

The home was in major disarray when we first saw it because they had no dressers. We cleared out the broken furniture before starting.  Grandma Pat walked over to us and gave us a hug and said, “We’ve been waiting for this” and started crying.

Open Families  a community service group based out of Walnut Creek and Lafayette, came to the rescue and in one day changed their lives.

* Names above changed for confidentiality

Before: Living room.
Before: Bedroom.
Before: Bedroom.

“Is this really my house?  I’ve never lived in anything like this.  Ever!” said Teresa when she saw her new home.

Mother and grandmother seeing their new home for the first time.

The boys were so excited to finally have a bed. “Yes!!! A bed! My bed!! Yeeesss!!”

Teresa overwhelmed by the care volunteers put into her daughter's new room.
The boys trying out their new beds.

When Teresa saw her dining room, she stood there counting the chairs. “The thing I am most excited about is having family dinners. Sunday dinner at a table. It sounds stupid, but I just can’t wait”.

Grandma Pat showing her gratitude.

Before our volunteers left, Grandma Pat gave hugs and said, “This is all from God. I just know it. It’s all from God!”

After: Living room.
After: Kitchen.
After: Dining room.
After: Grandma Pat's bedroom.
After: Living room.
After: The boy's bedroom.

“Look at the pictures, we have pictures on our wall! They are so beautiful. I never saw anything so beautiful. It’s all around me, just beautiful,” said Teresa.

Thank you

Thank you to Open Families  and Troop 237 in Orinda for giving these families the hope and fuel they need for building a successful future.

Plus, a special thank you to CHIPMAN RELOCATION AND LOGISTICS! We couldn’t help as many families as we do without you!

With gratitude,

Donna and Chris

Grateful Gatherings, Founders

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