“Our last foster child left us three months ago, and as I was packing her up, I tucked a letter containing our contact information into her things, knowing I would probably never hear from her again. D’najah Kelley is the cuddliest six-year-old with the brightest smile; it was so hard to say goodbye. I sharpened all of her pencils, made sure all of her clothes were clean, and searched the house for lost toys and books.
Then, a month after she left, a miracle happened. She called—her birth mom helped her dial the number. Since that day, we get to see her every week. I pick her up on Saturdays, and she spends the day with us. The first two months, I picked her up in South Atlanta at the home of the Auntie where she, her mother and three of her siblings were staying. Last month, her mom, Jeanna, told me they had moved; they had gotten their own subsidized housing way out on the westside. I drove to the new address, and Jeanna invited me inside, fairly bursting with pride at the three-bedroom apartment overlooking the playground.
That’s when I discovered that they did not have a single piece of furniture—not a chair, not a frying pan, not a mattress. Their clothes were piled in corners, and otherwise, the apartment was completely bare. I tried to hide my dismay and focus on Jeanna’s happiness. That night I lay awake at 3am thinking, ‘How can I help this family?’ The next morning at church I talked with friends, including Reverend Kim Jackson and Louisa Merchant, who runs Refugee Ministries. They calmed me down and assured me they could help, that All Saints’ could help.
Then the next miracle occurred. With Louisa’s help, All Saints’ organized the donation of every single thing this family needed for their new home. Every piece of furniture, all linens, everything to outfit the kitchen, every little thing right down to toothpaste, paper towels, and even art to hang on the walls. Two weeks later, we hired a U-Haul, and with help from volunteers, my husband collected the donations, delivered them to D’najah’s family, and set up the entire apartment in one afternoon.
My husband, Adam, and I have been going to All Saints’ for seven years, and I know that our parish is exceptional, but I had no idea that my family would be touched so closely by the incredible force of generosity and capacity. I am awed, and humbled, and deeply grateful. Thank you, All Saints’.”