Thank you to all of our Grateful Gatherings donors and volunteers who participated in our June 10th Grateful Gathering in Oakland!

As I write up this thank you, 2 weeks later than planned, I want to acknowledge those of you that were able to carve out time for us. We know how hectic summer schedules can be and we truly appreciate all of your support and care for these families in need. We couldn’t do it without you!

A special-shout out to our Oakland-based Girl Scouts who gathered donations and volunteered their time with their families for donating and of course a big thank you to our moving company Chipman Relocation Services for their continued support!

It was an incredible day, filled with many blessings, thanks to everyone’s hard work and generosity. We are so excited to show you what you accomplished in just one day for these families. Please don’t miss the video below – a heartfelt “thank you” from our client’s 16-year-old son.

Donna and Chris


Family 1 – Shan, Son and Granddaughter (Oakland)

Shan and her son have been homeless for 4 years. Her granddaughter, who is 3 years old had been homeless her whole life. They had moved from shelter to shelter and stayed with friends and family whenever they could.

Both Shan and her son are working but have had a difficult time coming up with money for deposits until now! Recently, a kind landlord agreed to take monthly payments and now they are living in their first home in a long while. With your help, we turned their house a home…


Before – Grandaughter’s Bedroom

Shan had collected items over the years, but dressers were broken and beds were on the floor. The look of this room is typical for our clients, with no money for dressers they have no place for clothes.


After – Grandaughter’s Bedroom

Dad was sleeping on an old platform bed with a borrowed mattress and no bedding.


Before – Dad’s Bedroom

Complete with a new queen size bed and dresser, Dad can get a restful night’s sleep and be ready for the day ahead.


After – Dad’s Bedroom

Shan’s bedroom was filled with miscellaneous clothes and a mattress on the floor. Luckily for her, you all came through and gave her this bedroom to work in, sleep in and recharge.


After – Shan’s Bedroom

No more paper plates and plastic ware, Shan finally has a kitchen they can eat in and all the supplies they need for making dinner together as a family thanks to all of you!



Their living room only had this sofa that was loaned to them by a friend. It was stained and sunk in the middle, not a comfortable place to sit with the whole family.


Before – Living Room

Their living space is now complete with a comfortable sofa and furnishings making it the perfect place to relax after a long day of work and school.


After – Living Room

“It’s so much better than I ever expected.
Thank you, Thank you Thank you!” – Shan


Shan and her family were overwhelmed with the generosity and care everyone took in making their apartment a home. Both Shan and her granddaughter hugged everyone as they were leaving with a BIG thank you!


Family #2 – Mark (father), Janisse (mother), Kevin (16), Matthew (14), James (8) – (Martinez)

Mark is a veteran of the US Navy and has a wife and 3 boys. Two years ago he suffered many life threatening medical problems all at once: he had a heart attack and had to have open heart surgery. This, in turn, caused a stroke that left him blind and hospitalized in a convalescent home.

It’s been a struggle to get by on only her salary and they have all been sharing a one bedroom at her mother’s apartment until they recently moved to a 3-bedroom home that SHELTER, Inc. is helping subsidize. Now that they have stable housing Mark will finally be released under her care.

Janisse was very lucky to get this 3 bedroom home but they could not afford to furnish it. No television, couch or anything in this living room until now…


Before – Living Room

Now the living room is perfect colorful, warm and inviting. The couch and lounge chair are enough for the growing boys and a perfect place to reconnect as a family


After – Living Room

When we first came to see the home, the boys were laying on these air mattresses. We knew this needed to change!


Before – Matthew and James’ Bedroom

Now the room is colorful, big enough for the boys and complete with a basketball hoop for these sporty kids. They immediately started playing when they saw their room!


After – Matthew and James’ Bedroom

16-year-old Kevin has been taking care of his mom and the boys for almost a year now and sleeping on this air mattress on the floor. His schoolwork has suffered and had to quit his football as well to take care of the family.


Before – Kevin’s Bedroom

Now he has his own space, complete with a desk to catch home on school work and his very own comfortable bed. Hopefully, this will be a place where Kevin can focus and go back to being a high school kid.


After – Kevin’s Bedroom

While her husband Mark has been in the hospital, Janisse comes home to sleep on this air mattress. She has been missing her husband and he could not come home until he had a proper medical bed.


Before – Master Bedroom


After – Master Bedroom

gg-fam-june10-martinezJanisse immediately started to tear up when she saw their room, complete with a bed for her husband and a comfortable bed for her. She has been working so hard and waiting so long, soon the wait will be over. We feel so honored to be able to help you with this transition.


A volunteer caught Janisse’s 16-year-old son, Kevin, on video just as he starts to thank all the volunteers and donors.

It’s moments like these we will never forget and it’s why we feel especially grateful to all of you for supporting us. The many hands helping, each plate, sofa, and lamp donated truly make an impact on our families’ everyday lives. THANK YOU from the bottom of hearts! Donna and Chris

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