I got to visit The Storehouse yesterday, which includes Calgary Eyewear Society, Calgary Community Kitchen and Neighbourlink. This particular story is about how Neighbourlink was able to help a single mom restore her life after losing everything in a fire. Neighbourlink helps people like this every day. I’ve added a link to their blog at the bottom. Here’s the story:
“The stuff I lost does not compare to the stuff you bring, but thanks be to God,” said Miatta Sambola, 21.
Two second-hand beds and dressers, a strainer and dish rack, lamps and a cupboard full of pasta and sauce were small but significant comforts to the single mother.
She and her five-year-old daughter Mamie lost everything to a thirsty fire that tore through theirs and seven other apartments at Woodridge Terrace SW on Saturday, Dec. 10.
The Calgary Housing unit was her home for six of the eight months she’s been in Canada.
“I’m not used to the cold,” said the Liberian about her first Canadian winter. Imagine her standing outside her burning apartment in bare feet. For two hours. In the middle of the night.
“I was confused,” said Sambola. “I even tried to go in for some of my clothes, but my sister told me I’m going to die.”
Her sister, who had been staying overnight, ran home to grab extra clothing and footwear for the pair.
The horror of that night has been replaced by a sliver of hope for the future. The small family has been re-housed in a two-bedroom apartment, albeit in the opposite quadrant.
Mamie will continue Grade 1 soon, in a new school just down the street. Her mother will continue learning English at the YWCA. And life itself will continue in spite of Sambola’s bitter loss.
“I’m so discouraged,” she said.
The day her home burned down was the same day her newly purchased television and sofa had been delivered. Now, no TV or sofa exists, but the reality of another five months of payments does, and hits hard.
Meanwhile NeighbourLink, a local non-profit organization that provides resources to Calgarians at risk of becoming homeless, has filled Sambola’s empty apartment with furniture, kitchen and bedroom items, including two sofas and televisions.
NeighbourLink warehouse staff Lorne Mouland and Mark Alexander delivered the one-tonne-truck-full of supplies on Friday, Dec. 16, less than 24 hours after Sambola relocated out of a hotel into the apartment.
Following the fire, NeighbourLink became the hub where Calgarians could donate finances and gently-used items to the displaced families.
When Mouland and Alexander had moved everything into Sambola’s new home, she began to unpack – and rebuild. Mamie decorated a small Christmas tree she had found amongst the donations, and the sun shone through the window.
Neighbourlink takes donations of household items that help refurnish homes for those in need.