by Jasmine Gordovez, Client Services
We encounter different walks of life in our line of work. On average, we see about 50 families coming through the Warehouse every week. Our hopes are that each family leaves with furnishings they need to feel empowered and thrive in their new space. On a recent appointment, we interacted with a client by the name of Beverly.
Beverly contacted Community Warehouse in a tough place. Currently homeless and couch surfing, she found her way to a local women’s shelter in SE Portland. Finding a way out of the shelter system and into housing can prove difficult. The housing crisis in Portland has created a large demand for housing with limited vacancy rates. This difficult situation elongates the process for those transitioning into housing. You can read more about the housing crisis here.
Beverly was determined to connect with local resources and in time she secured a new apartment. For most people, this is a big enough hurdle to overcome and much cause for celebration. For Beverly, it was the perfect opportunity to reach out to Community Warehouse. That call allowed us to communicate our process and what she could expect from our inventory. The conversation brought tears to her eyes; overwhelmed that she would have the opportunity to make her new apartment a true home.
When appointment day arrived, Beverly navigated the furniture floor with our resident case manager. As she selected her items, you could almost visualize the transformation her empty “home” space was about to undergo: a bed with blankets would become her new resting place; a coffee table and couch would create a cozy living room; a dining table and silverware would offer a place to sit down and enjoy hot meals.
At the end of her appointment, with tears streaming down her face, Beverly exclaimed, “I got everything I needed!”
When each appointment at Community Warehouse comes to an end, the furnishings are loaded into a truck or vehicle, and the client gets ready for the next phase of their transition into housing.
Before she departed, Beverly had one more thing to share with us. Within her personal belongings, she pulled out a worn envelope. It’s where all of her money is stored. The money is counted diligently and with care, and a five dollar bill is pulled aside. She turns to our case manager and offers it as a donation, saying:
“I know it’s not much, but I want to offer this to the program that has allowed me a fresh start.”
Beverly’s story is just one of many that reminds us how meaningful donations can be – for both the giver and receiver. It reminds us, too, that donations come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you make a cash gift, or drop off your gently-used furnishings, it’s important to know that you are giving another person in your community like Beverly the opportunity for a fresh start. And that’s a really, really big deal.
It’s amazing how much work can be accomplished by so few when the hearts are dedicated. You guys are the real deal.