Ahead of Veterans Day on Monday, one Air Force veteran and his family are getting a fresh start, finally putting an end to sleeping at a homeless shelter.
Malcolm Carney and his family saw their Palos Hills apartment furnished for the first time.
“We have been through a lot, like a lot,” said the Air Force veteran.
The father of four was living with his girlfriend and their boys in a homeless shelter until securing an apartment, even though he didn’t have anything to put in it.
Dave King, founder of the Oak Forest chapter of ‘Sleep in Heavenly Peace’—a non-profit that builds beds for children ages 3-17.
“We want to make sure no kids sleep on the floor in our town,” he said.
To help Carney and his family, Sleep in Heavenly Peace teamed up with the ‘Home 2 Home Project,’ a non-profit that helps homeless families get back on their feet by furnishing their apartments. While SHP volunteers built a set of bunk beds, H2H volunteers were busy outfitting the home with everything from new bedding, sheets and towels to gently-used furniture and accessories, including framed pictures and lamps.
“We’re not just trying to put anything into a space,” said Janelle Towne, founder of the Home 2 Home Project. “We want it to feel warm and inviting.”
In addition to beds and cribs for each member of the family, about two dozen volunteers added rugs, toys, dishes and toiletries. They even left behind a cake, donated by a local bakery, with “Welcome Home” written in the icing.
“Complete strangers are doing all of this,” said Anicia Afanador, Malcom’s girlfriend, mother of their boys. “That’s just... you can really put into words.”
“We thought it was important to do (it) before Veterans Day, to show how much we appreciate his service,” Towne said.
As Malcolm Carney toured his family’s new surroundings, tears spilled down his cheeks.
“They don’t know how much they have blessed my kids and me,” he said. “They set us up for success with this.”