This year, over 470 families in California will be celebrating their very first holiday season in a brand new Mercy Housing community. In 2018, Mercy Housing California (MHC) completed construction on several new developments all over the state. As the year draws to a close, these new buildings become homes as residents are gathering together over a meal, welcoming the new year.
At West Beamer Place, over 125 people gathered together for the first time with friends and family over a tasty Welcome Home/Thanksgiving meal. The past month had been full of excitement for the new residents as they unpacked boxes and got comfortable in their new homes. Thirty-two of these homes are for individuals or families who were formerly experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Many of them had not yet really met their new neighbors, and certainly many of them were not ready to cook a Thanksgiving meal.
As Thanksgiving approached, staff formulated an ambitious plan to prepare a delicious holiday meal for the new community. They didn’t have much time to prepare and did not yet have serving dishes or cookware for such a large group. Resident Services Coordinator Tammi approached Chef Jessi Moreno and her cook Dawn Emerick at the Dante Club about donating some serving dishes. Inspired by the mission of Mercy Housing, they offered to prepare, transport, and serve the entire meal. Jessi and Dawn were eager to make this a special day.
The staff at the Dante Club in Sacramento traveled 31 miles to deliver and serve this meal in Woodland. They brought hot plates, linens, utensils, and serving dishes to present the dinner in “full banquet style.” Yolo County partners not only attended the event but case managers, Sammy and Rosie, pitched in to serve and prep the meal. Mercy Housing is fortunate for partnerships with New Hope CDC, Yolo County Housing, and Yolo County on this development.
Another Mercy Housing community that completed construction in 2018 is Natalie Gubb Commons. When families came down to the community room to celebrate their first holiday season in their new homes, they found a fully lit tree with presents for their children beneath it. Family Giving Tree donated gifts for over 100 kids ages 12 and under. Volunteers from Mercy High School in San Francisco came to help serve hot chocolate and desserts, as well as do crafts with the kids.