Gabriela, mother to two young girls, arrived for her appointment with her mother in an old, rickety car. Followed closely by her landlord, who had volunteered to help since Gabriela couldn’t afford to rent a truck, the family’s struggle with poverty was obvious. More obvious, however, was their fighting spirit and determination to help themselves.
The family of four had recently returned to Massachusetts after a failed move across the country and had nothing. Never having had much, Gabriela and her mother were visibly excited to pick out furniture at our warehouse, even saying they would refinish a bureau they liked in our workshop themselves. Yet their elation turned to tears when the subject of Christmas came up.
“We’re not having Christmas this year.” Gabriela told us. They simply couldn’t afford it.
“Yes, you are!” replied one of our volunteers, leading them to shelf stuffed with brand new beanie babies. A generous collector had donated hundreds of them over the years, and we often gave them to visiting parents as a Christmas surprise. Gabriela and her mother were thrilled and filled several small bags.
By the time they left, we had set them up with a complete bunk bed set and mattresses, two bureaus, one nightstand, four bags of linens, art for the walls, shelving, a clock, lamps, children’s books, and, of course, lots of stuffed animals.
As they left, Gabriela turned to us and said, “Thank you for everything. Thank you for giving my children a Christmas.”