Meijer Family Spotlight
Welcome to our Meijer Family Spotlight Series, where we’ll feature just a few of the 2,300 families we’re providing with beds and furniture each year.
Each family who is featured will receive a $250 Meijer gift card… and we thank Meijer for their generous support of the Furniture Bank and the families we serve!
Arianna Harp always dutifully paid her rent, but what she didn’t know was that her landlord wasn’t staying current with his mortgage payments. Because of this, Arianna found herself without a home… and with four children – Mina, 6; Jeremiah, 5; Brayden, 3; and Emerald, 6 months – this was a horrible thing.
Arianna spent time couch surfing, as well as staying in hotels and motels. She was in a homeless shelter for almost three months. Sometimes, her children would stay with family while she struggled to keep a roof over her own head.
After a difficult start to 2023, Arianna is looking toward the future and will be celebrating Thanksgiving with her family in their own home!
“I love my kids more than anything, and being away from them was just mentally taxing,” she says, adding, “being homeless is physically taxing.”
With the help of human service organizations, she was finally able to get a Housing Choice Voucher to obtain a home for her family. For the first three weeks, however, they didn’t have the furniture they needed.
Two of Arianna’s children, Mina and Emerald, are nothing but smiles as they sit on the couch their family received from the Furniture Bank.
Arianna says relaxing on her couch gives her “peace of mind.”
“We didn’t have a couch or any of the basics, the boys didn’t have beds and their backs were hurting. Something as simple as watching a movie was difficult. It was hard to enjoy each other’s company.”
Arianna’s family was referred to the Furniture Bank and received a full living room set, along with two dressers, box springs to get her kids sleeping more comfortably, along with various lamps, pots, pans and other necessities.
“Having furniture really improves your self-esteem. I feel more complete and more mentally sound. I can also see the change in my kids and love them enjoy our home!”
With a small business grant, Arianna is working to get her own business off the ground, “Detroit Boujie Burgers” (She points out that “boujie” is intentionally spelled wrong, saying with a smile that “it’s a Detroit thing.”) Arianna uses locally sourced food to make plant-based hamburgers and dressings, which she sells at farmers markets and hopes to someday get into local stores.
“Being homeless was such a difficult thing to go through. I now have so much more gratitude than I had before. Just a simple thing like relaxing on my couch gives me peace of mind… I love it!”
Meijer is a family-owned retailer committed to enriching lives in the communities it serves, following a simple philosophy established by their founder:
“Take care of your customers, team members and community … and all of them will take care of you, just like a family.”
– Fred Meijer
The Furniture Bank provided Yolanda and her family with the furniture they needed to get back on their feet. Wanda now has another job and is looking to go back to school to study project management.