Surprised woman holding hands over her face

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.

Collecting donations and packing up the truck for a big day!

Family #1

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.

Living room.
Boy's room.

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! 

They were especially thrilled to see the Christmas tree in the living room!
Boy's room.
Beautiful new desks in each bedroom to pay the bills and do homework.

“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.

The girl's room.
Living room.

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.

Living room.
Living room

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!

Dining room
Girl's room.

“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.”

The girls love their new room!

Thank you

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.


With gratitude,

The Marin Grateful Gatherings Team

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Showing 9 comments
  • gail tarlow

    This was the most gratifying donation I made all year.! So happy for Matilde and Celeste and their families. These brave women deserve a break. Let’s continue to serve our beloved community like this. Happy Holidays to ALL.

  • Grace Ricco-Pena

    Thank you for everything you are doing. I am very poor, have no money or anything to contribute but I just want to say how much I honor and respect the work that you are doing, the joy that you bring into people’s lives and your generosity of spirit.
    You radiate the spirit of compassion and kindness and that is something that our world needs so much right now.

    A million thank yous!Peace, love, comfort and joy to each of you.

    • Chris Flitter

      Thank you for your kind words, they mean so much. Wishing you a happy holiday and peace in the New Year.

  • Marilyn King

    I am heartened that in a world full of selfishness and bad news people still step aside from their own problems to help others with problems more urgent than their own. Bless all of you for your work on behalf of these other good people.

  • M.J. Koontz

    Thank you very very much. You are doing great work. The next time you have to move in furniture and supplies for a new family, kindly contact me and I will help.
    Mary Jean in Mill Valley

  • elizabeth

    So happy to see them happy! Thanks for letting me know they enjoyed the tree- nice seeing it in the photos.

  • Carol MacDonell

    I am so very proud and grateful to have worked with this amazing group. It warms my heart to be able to bring such joy to families in need. I look forward to the next gathering!

  • Suzanne

    This is just SO amazing!! Especially at Christmas time. I have furniture, lamps, bedding, to donate. Can I help you in any way?

  • Leigh Bakhtiari

    What a great way for our community to come together, so happy to help these beautiful families. Thanks for including us Marsha!

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