It’s fitting that Thanksgiving is next week because right now that’s how I feel.
Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.
With help and support from so many people, we were able to give the women and children who live at Hubbard House a new, welcoming space to celebrate their Thanksgiving meal. That small but important gesture means so much to me, and I know it will to all of them.
As I’ve said all along, the dining room and kitchen is the “heart of the home.” I believe that, and that’s what this project was all about.
For these families on the brink of homelessness, our goal was to give them a place where they could gather around a large, beautiful table to share a meal, tell stories and laugh together. Thanks to so many of you, we achieved our goal with time to spare!
In case you haven’t been following along on social media, I wanted to share a few highlights from the project, particularly our final week when things really started happening!
While we didn’t meet our initial fundraising goals, we didn’t actually need to! So many individual friends and family donated funds, and then, we had generous donations of time and materials from businesses throughout the community. In the end, we had just enough of everything to make the project come together!
My heart is bursting with joy and gratitude. This was such a wonderful experience and I still can’t believe how the pieces just fell into place!
Here is a quick timeline of the final week:
Day 1 – Demolition Day
On Monday, Nov. 1, the crew from BJC Home Services met me at the Hubbard House for demo day. While I had originally thought we would need help from volunteers for this all-day job, I was so wrong! The crew from BJC had cabinets ripped out, furniture out of the way and the room was ready for a makeover in a matter of minutes. All the dirty work was done before my volunteers even arrived. So, thanks for showing off, guys!
With that quick demo work out of the way, I headed to Sherwin Williams for paint. One of my favorite aspects of the entire room is the new purple accent wall. This shade, Autumn Orchid, is just gorgeous and really ties the room together. The purple and gold color scheme reflects the colors in the Catholic Urban Programs logo. It all goes together so beautifully!
Day 2 – New Chairs, Cabinets & Paint
Day two of our project brought lots of big changes as Shannon Duvall of HD Painting & Stain Co. worked hard to remove the mural so we could start painting in our new color palette. The team from BJC Home Services kept busy installing the new cabinets and countertop. Our gorgeous new chairs arrived and the new, more modern ceiling fans were installed. Bit by bit, the room began to evolve from a sterile environment to a real home!
Day 3 – Slower Progress, But Big Splashes
Any time I work on a project, there are days when we work hard, but there isn’t as much to show for all that work! That was day three of our project at Hubbard House!
Everybody kept busy, but we didn’t have any big showy results – except for the new backsplash beneath the cabinets!
Day 4 – Smile for the Cameras
While we intended to finish up the design work on Day 5, we were actually able to finish a day early! And it was a good thing too because we had a surprise guest – Andy Banker of Fox 2!
Andy and his crew came to check on our progress and bring awareness to the shelter and the organization that operates it, Catholic Urban Programs.
Sidenote: If you saw the clip, you know I got a little emotional on camera. That definitely wasn’t planned! I actually told them to cut that out! But, everything I said is completely heartfelt. I am a big believer in the work CUP is doing and I’m so honored to have helped them in my small way.
By Thursday afternoon we were adding the finishing touches, cleaning up our mess and saying our goodbyes to our new friends at CUP. We were done ahead of schedule. I love the satisfaction of completing a project early so this was the icing on the top of an already sweet design!
I had so much fun with this project and to be honest, I’m sad it’s over! Hopefully there will be a chance for me to work on other rooms in the Hubbard House in the future.
Until then, I’d like to give one last shout out to all the additional professionals who donated materials, time and support for this project. Please note that this list does not include the many individuals who gave monetary donations but I’m forever grateful for your support and am applauding all of you as well! Thank you everyone!
Catholic Urban Programs (CUP) is a 501 (c) 3 organization that is affiliated with the Diocese of Belleville. The mission of CUP is to advance human dignity, remediate the effects of poverty, and empower people to become self-sufficient through crisis intervention, housing security, and out of school time programs. CUP operates programming in seven facilities located in East St. Louis. CUP serves people throughout the Diocese with a concentrated focus on St. Clair County and East St. Louis specifically.