Melissa Kelley: Thank you, Nevada County for stepping up to support a family in need |

Melissa Kelley: Thank you, Nevada County for stepping up to support a family in need

If you have ever read “Throwing Starfish” by Loren Eisley, this story is certainly that one starfish.

I have been moved to tears a number of times in the last two days by what has happened here in Nevada County amidst all the negative things we read about. I hope you will find this as touching as I did. We need good news …

On the afternoon of March 30, we got wind of a single dad with a 4-year-old daughter who had just received word that they would be moving into their very own home together. After overcoming tremendous adversity that would bring tears to anyone’s eyes, they finally had a place to call home. Unfortunately, and as it goes for many who have been in a position of homelessness, they had nothing. This dad took a very humbling step, all ego aside, and asked for help to find a real bed for his little girl. His plight was a simple one that we, as members of this community, could certainly help with. We had no idea what would happen next.

We decided to post on Nevada County Peeps (a Facebook forum with thousands of members) to see if a bed could be found. Within minutes, my phone was ringing and I was getting messages. A bed was secured for this little girl. Not minutes later, we discovered that, while his main concern was a bed for his child, and a baking sheet, they were starting a new life and would need much more than this to get started. The post grew to a list of very basic needs: Pillows for child and dad, bedding, pots and pans, dishes, silverware, very small table with two chairs, vacuum, full-size sheets, shower curtain, broom and dustpan, trash can, and serving utensils. Within a few hours, the donations were so abundant that we started just collecting and storing for his big move-in date this past Thursday.

These acts of kindness are what keep our little community moving forward in the wake of the chaos.

The tremendous outpouring of love and support for a complete stranger they knew nothing about moved all of us to tears. A simple post — “A single dad with a young child just found a place to call home. They have nothing and he has reached out for help for her … hoping we can find some love for the both of them” — changed at least a dozen lives that Monday afternoon.

Weeping tears of joy that this community came through for this young man, we made a spreadsheet of all of the items. Every man, woman and child who donated had a story of their own … homelessness, recovery from substance use, living in poverty themselves … but each gave from the heart all that they could. Humankindness.

From this community and in under 24 hours, this little family received the following items: All bedding and pillows for dad and child, beds, a table with chairs, microwave, dishes, silverware, bathroom set, pots and pans, children’s books, toy organizer, shelves, nightstand, glassware, laundry basket, kitchen and bath towels, even a little picture frame for the little girl to have in her room.

With the rest of the donations coming in, one man even offered to help them move.

These aren’t friends or family of this dad and child. These are total strangers who heard a member of their community was in need and responded with concern and compassion.

Thank you, Nevada County!

For those of you who gave, followed the post, and shared your compassion, these acts of kindness are what keep our little community moving forward in the wake of the chaos. You are appreciated and you have made a difference to “that one starfish.”

Melissa Kelley lives in Grass Valley.

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