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A week before Christmas a HomeLink mother received a gift. Furniture for an apartment that had none.

Prior to November, she had been homeless until the Orange County’s Rapid Rehousing program found her and her children an apartment in Durham, NC. When the team at UNC CECMH HomeLink discovered her family had no beds to sleep on, no table to gather around for family meals, nor even basic appliances to cook with, they partnered with the Episcopal Church of the Advocate to help make their new apartment a home.

“One of the most difficult things to do for folks when they move into a new place is find furniture, kitchen furnishings, etc. Especially if the folks don’t have any money.  In the past we have collected furniture through individual contacts we have in the community. We also received a house-full of furniture that someone from Burlington donated when their parent died and they sold the parent’s house,” explains Paul Marvin, CPSS, HomeLink Housing Specialist. “I have collaborated with the rector of Episcopal Church of the Advocate, Marion Sprott-Goldson, previously in raising money to cover the cost of birth certificates, apartment applications, car repairs, and other things.”

Through the support of the church’s parishioners, a furniture drive was quickly set up, and a week before Christmas the HomeLink family received two queen beds with complete bedding, 3 dressers, a couple of night stands, a living room sectional, and easy chair and ottoman, a TV stand, a kitchen table and chairs, place settings and silverware, small appliances, utensils, pots and pans, and a handful of lamps. As well as, $750 in cash for future needs.

However, furniture was not the only gift under the tree.

“The most interesting thing about all this, though, was that during the drive someone asked if we wanted a telescope.” Marvin excitedly reveals. “I love telescopes, so of course I said ‘yes.’ When I gave the telescope to our client, she told me that when her now middle school aged son was six, his grandfather gave him a small telescope for Christmas which her son really loved. They had unfortunately lost it in one of their many moves over the years. She now had a telescope to give him for Christmas.”