Marin Grateful Gatherings

Marin Grateful Gatherings volunteers and donors bring comfort and joy to two families

Marin Grateful Gatherings volunteers and donors brought comfort and joy to two families on August 12th.

Both families were referred to us from Novato Human Needs and had been homeless for some time. Thanks to your generous donations of furniture, household goods, toys, clothes, other essentials, and your time, the families now have a welcoming place to come home to after work and school.

We — and the families — are so grateful for all you’ve done to make this happen.

When you feel discouraged by the events in the world, keep these pictures in mind. You have done something memorable and wonderful for two deserving families and given them a fresh start in life.

With gratitude,
The Marin Grateful Gatherings Team


On Saturday morning, donors dropped off furniture and household goods at the beautiful setting of St. Luke’s church in San Rafael. The team set to work sorting, labeling and boxing the contributions by family. Our wonderful volunteers from Chipman Relocation arrived with larger furniture items. The very generous folks at Mancini’s Sleepworld donated all the mattresses, box springs, and bed frames! We loaded everything up and headed out for the families’ homes.

Family 1

Suilly and Miguel came to the Bay Area from rural Guatemala for the opportunity of a better life for themselves and their children. When we arrived at Suily and Miguel’s apartment, all they had was a donated sofa and a dining table with rickety chairs.

The bedrooms were totally empty: the family was sleeping on the floor.


We turned their living room into a place where the family can gather and relax.


And the parents’ bedroom into a comfortable space to rest


But the biggest hit was Angel and Dorothy’s room! They literally squealed with joy when they saw their new beds topped with toys and a special play area with table and chairs in the corner.


Suilly said she couldn’t find the words to express how happy and thankful she was. Miguel couldn’t be there when we finished because he had to work, but he called the moment he got home, saying he couldn’t believe how nice the apartment was. Five-year-old Angel was yelling “Thank you, thank you” in the background.

Family 2

Our second family, Karin, Gary and son Gavin were living in Libya, where Gavin was an IT Project Manager working on a local contract basis for a US high tech firm. Three years ago, they had to be evacuated due to the political situation. They have been homeless since then, staying with friends and family. Gavin has been unable to find a job in his field, so he’s been holding down minimum wage jobs while he continues his search.


They were recently able to find a house to rent in Novato. The landlord provided a reduced-rate rent in exchange for maintenance and pet care services the couple will provide. Karin plans to start a home-based live plant arrangement business, once she’s able to fund the basics she’ll need.


The family owned virtually nothing, having lived out of suitcases for the last three years.


Thanks to you, they now have a comfy living room.


And 13-year-old Gavin beamed when he saw his room. He studies college level science and was especially thrilled with one of the new pictures on his wall “An updated elements table!” he exclaimed.  And then “Wow … just wow.” There were more “wows” as he saw the rest of the house.


Bright and updated, Karen now has a comfortable bed and lighting for a cozy room.


Karin was overwhelmed when she saw her beautiful new bedroom.

The Grateful Gatherings team provided us a beautiful space for our family and this without a doubt was monumental for Gavin and has helped with his anxiety. He loves his room and I believe his new environment has contributed to his positive outlook and attitude. Having a comfortable home where you feel a sense of safety and security affects the whole family in a positive light moving forward. – Karin

Karin, Gary and Gavin shook each one of our hands, in turn, gave us hugs and kept saying “Thank you so much.”

A couple of days later, on the phone, Karin said they were still “discovering new things” we had placed in their home and that they were feeling “revitalized and relaxed.”

The pictures and expressions on the two families’ faces say it all. You’ve made a tremendous impact on these families lives that they will always remember.


Thank you to our Marin Grateful Gatherings Team and all of the volunteers and donors who supported these two families in need. We couldn’t do this without your passion for helping others.

Looking forward to seeing you again soon! 

Donna and Chris

Grateful Gatherings Founders

Showing 5 comments
  • Grace Ricco-Pena

    Thank you for doing this wonderful work?

  • Diane Matcheck

    It’s so fantastic to see these families enjoy their new homes! Thank you for organizing these wonderful events–I can’t wait til the next one! 🙂

  • Karen Auroy

    I am so impressed with what a lovely job you did in providing a warm, comforting environment for these families. I’ll look into your website and learn more a bout what you do. In the meantime, thank you!

  • Jill Hill

    Thank you for all your hard work and organizing. Also, thank you for these pictures, I could not access the ones sent out a week or so ago. I hope these families are happy and off to a good new beginning!

  • Licita Fernandez

    At a time of such hateful divisiveness, Grateful Gatherings is a beacon of love, kindness and hope. Thank you!!

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