Giving the Gift of Home for the Holidays
Volunteers gathered at beautiful St. Luke Presbyterian Church on a very cold December 2nd morning. While donors dropped off their donations, our wonderful movers provided by Chipman Relocation and Birch Circle Movers collected the large furniture items from donors’ homes. The trucks arrived at the church, and the truck was loaded for afternoon deliveries to the two families.
Our first stop was single Mom, Matilde, and her three children, Herardo (14), Mercedes (10) and Franklin (7). The family was granted political asylum in the US after fleeing political unrest in El Salvador. Matilde had also been subjected to domestic violence there.
Herardo, had been sleeping on a ragged, donated mattress (which they discarded before we arrived,) and Franklin was sleeping on a donated blanket on the floor.
When the family returned home, they were overwhelmed with joy.
Their empty living room/dining room had been transformed into a cosy, beautiful place where the family can gather and Matilde can relax after working two jobs. Their kitchen had been fully outfitted, so Matilde can pursue her passion for cooking and someday achieve her dream of opening a Salvadorean food truck or restaurant. Now they all have brand new beds. The boys have the Warriors and soccer comforters they wished for!
“We are so happy, happy,” she said. “We have no words to thank you. We just can’t believe this is our home!”
The next day, Matilde called to thank us. “We are so happy, happy,” she said. “We have no words to thank you. We just can’t believe this is our home!” Words aren’t needed. The smiles say it all.
The second family we visited was single mother Celeste and her five children, Cesar (17), Melody (11), twin girls Coco and Chayo (7), and Abel (6). Celeste, too, was a victim of domestic violence, here in Marin. She feared for her life and that of her children when her husband was released from prison. The family of six was sharing a room in Fairfax before they found a small house to move to.
They, too, had been living in an empty home for more than a month. The three girls shared a bedroom but had no place to sleep or do homework.
But thanks to our wonderful donors, look at their beautiful living room now!
For the first time, the family has a place they can sit down and share meals all together at the same table.
Remember that empty girls’ bedroom?
The girls all cried when they saw their “new” room – with a beautiful, new lavender carpet — one of four donated by City Carpets — brand new beds and bedding, and even a framed picture of their idol, Selena Gomez!
“We never had anything like this,” he said. “My sisters all cried last night – they were so happy.”
“Oh my God, the house is amazing,” Celeste said when she saw it. “Love you guys. Thank you so much!” Cesar, the 17-year-old boy was still overwhelmed a day later when we stopped by. “We never had anything like this,” he said. “My sisters all cried last night – they were so happy.”
To our wonderful team of volunteers – some pictured here after the morning’s gathering – and to our most generous donors. We can’t thank you enough! Know that you have made a life changing impact on the lives of these two families. Thanks to you, they will have a safe and beautiful home to start the rest of their lives. When there is so much news that is sad and concerning these days, you have brought truly good news to these Marin families.
The Marin Grateful Gatherings Team