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For “Ms. S” and her three children, December 17th of this year was the fulfillment of a Christmas miracle. But it wouldn’t have happened without the generosity of others and the support of people like you.
Every year, Beyond Housing runs a gift-giving program called “Holiday Friends” that invites St. Louisans to adopt one of the many families in need for the holidays. The program can be a lifesaver for families living in difficult financial circumstances, and also helps put something under the tree for families who otherwise would have nothing.
For one of these families, it proved to be a life-changer. Recently, one of Beyond Housing’s Community Health Workers discovered that “Ms. S” and her three children were existing in deplorable living conditions. The home that they were renting was filled with mold and sewage backup. The environment was not only unsafe, it posed a serios health risk to two of the children who suffer from chronic asthma.
Upon learning of the family’s situation, our Senior Director of Housing, Corey Dickens, quickly identified a home for the family and expedited the process so the family could move in as soon as possible. Arrangements were made; applications were filled out; and our Maintenance Department began preparing the home so the family could move in as soon as possible.
A move-in date was set for December 17th and the family was told to begin packing. But this is where the story gets even better.
As the home was being prepared, we reached out to our friends Tim Ezell, at Fox 2, and Brian Owens, of Life Arts. Tim and Brian spread the word through their networks and within a short time, many other organizations and individuals wanted to get involved.
On December 17th, Ms. S and her family knew they would be moving into their new home. But when walked through the front door, they were greeted with a surprise that surpassed anything they had ever imaged.
Thanks to the generosity of others, the home was completely furnished with brand new furniture, as well as rugs, sheets, towels, and a new TV. The refrigerator and cupboards were stocked with food, and cabinets were stocked with dishware, cookware, and utensils. There were new clothes for every member of the family and toys for the kids. No detail was overlooked, from the snow shovel to the shower curtain, the Christmas decorations, and even a savings account with money for future groceries and needs.
In that one instant, four lives were forever changed. Going forward, our Community Health Workers, Housing Resource Coordinator, and Family Engagement Liaison will ensure that this is just the beginning of a lasting transformation for this family.
This Saturday, December 21 at 8:30am on Fox 2, Tim Ezell will be featuring Ms. S and her family’s story.
You can also see the story on The Thread YouTube channel.
It’s a great example of why we do this work and what can happen when we all come together. None of this would’ve happened without the generosity of everyone mentioned below, and everyone who supports the work of Beyond Housing.
Thank you to everyone who gave Ms. S and her family the best Christmas ever: