Grace Housing Volunteer | Apartment Setup

Topics: Front Porch Housing, Housing

Serving with Style

A Grace Housing volunteer offers her décor know-how to create welcoming home environments for residents

Missy Talbert, wife to Ben and mother of three boys, knows a good deal when she sees one. A former buyer for Belk and avid bargain shopper, Missy has an experienced eye. She can spot a quality item and knows which pieces will work together.

It’s not a gift you normally associate with a volunteer role, but when Missy helped with a Grace Housing move-in, she found a niche. Ben and Missy have been attending Grace Church for 16 years, and a few years ago she helped set up an apartment for a family in need of a safe, clean place to live.

“After that, I was super interested in doing it, so I started serving weekly on a regular basis,” Missy says. “I love to set up living spaces and pull stuff together.”

Most of Missy’s work takes place on Tuesdays at the Care & Recovery resource warehouse. There, she and other volunteers help sort through the new and gently used household items that have been donated. When a new housing client is ready to move in, Missy and the team pull together coordinating furniture and home décor, linens, silverware—anything required to make the house turn-key ready.

“It’s not just stuff thrown together,” Missy says. “Residents provide preferences, and we try to make it unique to them. That’s what makes it really fun—trying to honor them with our intentionality. We really want them to feel like this is their home.”

While Missy doesn’t often get to watch the residents walk into their new space, she has been able to connect with them by helping Grace host a special Christmas Shop the last two years. By collecting quality holiday décor in November, volunteers gather enough items to set up a walk-in boutique, complete with live Christmas music and hot chocolate. Each resident receives a tree, and can pick from the host of decorations available.

Last year, when one resident mentioned she had never had a Christmas tree before, the simple statement hit home for Missy, making her realize how much we take for granted. “These women, some of them have never had the freedom to decorate for Christmas,” she says. “It’s an abundance that hasn’t been afforded to them.”

Missy is often humbled and encouraged by the volunteer work and the women in the housing program, some of whom return to help set up apartments for other housing residents. During the summer, she brings her three boys to the warehouse to help out. For Missy, it’s important that her children sacrifice their time and own someone else’s cause as a family.

  • “They know it’s important to me, and it becomes important to them,” Missy says. “Because it’s so important to have a home, one that you’re proud of. It’s building people up to start a new life.”