If you're homeless, the move from living in a shelter, car, or on the street to having a place to call your own marks a major step forward in finding stable ground. But it doesn't solve everything.
"It's not like, 'OK, I have a home now, I'm all better,'" Donna Somerville, co-founder of the nonprofit Grateful Gatherings, explains in the video below. If families don't have the basics inside the home — like beds, lamps, tables, and chairs — how are they going to keep up outside of it? "How well are you going to do at your job? How well are your kids going to do at school?"
Grateful Gatherings helps make this process easier by furnishing the homes of families transitioning out of homelessness.
You can see how big of a difference they're making to families in this incredibly touching video:
The video follows Grateful Gatherings as they surprise two families with their furnished homes.
The first is a family of four. When Grateful Gatherings came into their lives, mom and dad didn't have jackets for their children to stay warm.
Now, they have jackets — and a lot more.
All GIFs from Grateful Gatherings.
The second family is a single mom, who became homeless after leaving an abusive partner, and her 1-year-old and 7-year-old daughters.
Now, the family of three has all the basics (and more), under one roof.
Although the "before and after" shots are sure to spark a few smiles ...
... it's what the home furnishings actually mean for the health and well-being of these families that makes the difference.
"If we can create a space that is warm ... where they have the things they need, where they can get a good night's sleep, where they can enjoy family time — the family, the kids, the parents are all going to do better in the outside world," explains Somerville.
Grateful Gatherings is fueled by donations from supporters and a team of volunteers who help organize and move the home furnishings. This year, the San Francisco Bay Area group has served dozens of families — 125 individuals in total — and hopes to expand its services in 2018.
Its work makes a world of difference to these parents and children.
"This is the best day ever," a girl featured in the video explained after having walked into her newly furnished home. "Now I have three Christmases, because I have my birthday, Christmas, and this." ❤️
To learn more about Grateful Gatherings, visit the nonprofit's website.