The Lives We Touch: Kormasah and Emmanuel’s Story01/16/2018 by Rebecca Toews
“Being homeless in Minnesota is no joke,” recalls Emmanuel C (Bridging client: November, 2016). “Especially dealing with all the kids, it ain’t no joke.”
After facing increasing violence in their neighborhood in New Jersey, Emmanuel and his wife Kormasah, who both originally immigrated to the United States from Liberia, moved their family back to Minnesota last year. The two were looking for a brighter and safer future for their children, who range in age from a year old, to 13.
“With the help of our housing worker, we found this place. We moved in and for 3 weeks we had no furniture, no TV, no beds, no nothing,” says Kormasah. “We had no pots, no pans, and no spoons.”
The family’s case worker referred them to Bridging to fill their house with furniture and housewares. Bridging was founded in 1987, and works on the basic idea that together, we can create a bridge between those in need, and those with excess.
“We all have stuff we don’t use anymore, that we could give to others,” says Mark Wilkening, executive director of Bridging. “We are honored to help bridge that gap and serve families and individuals throughout the Twin Cities metro area.”
Through partnerships with more than 150 agencies, Bridging improves lives by providing quality furniture and household goods to individuals and families who are transitioning out of homelessness and poverty. At Bridging, volunteers act as personal shoppers for clients as they choose all the items they will need to make their house a home.
“The people who helped me pick stuff out were awesome,” says Emmanuel. “They were so awesome. We talked and everything was good… We are eternally grateful.”
Bridging has two warehouses (Bloomington and Roseville) and serves nearly 14,000 individuals annually.
“I was working a 14 hour shift and I came home, and I helped them bring the furniture in,” says Emmanuel. “Once it was set up, I thought, ‘by the almighty God, we finally have a place to be a family!’ When the kids came home from school they asked, ‘are we in a different house, Daddy?'”
“Everything was beautiful,” says Kormasah. “Everything was just set up so nicely, the table was pretty, I came home and walked upstairs and fell onto the bed.“
Though the family has been through many struggles, they know now that they will be able to get a fresh start. “It was a house, but it wasn’t a home… now, we have a home, we have furniture, and we have family.”
The thing that Kormasah is most excited about is the stability that the furniture she received will provide for her and her family. “We can have a savings account now! We can afford to give the kids clothes; we can look forward to presents for Christmas! Everything we needed is just right at this moment… Everything is right.”