Every morning Susanne would go to her favorite coffee shop for a doughnut and coffee, and each morning Ebony added a warm smile and wishes for a good day to the purchase. The women became friends, so when the Dunkin' Donuts employee didn't show up for work, the customer began to worry.
For Suzanne Burke a good day started with coffee and a donut from her favorite cashier, Ebony Johnson. Gradually, good-day wishes evolved into a casual chat, and the women became very attached to each other. Ebony worked hard, and for her, too, talking to a friendly customer was a very pleasant start of the day. That's why Suzanne was so surprised not to see the saleswoman at her work place.
Ebony was missing for days, and her friend was beginning to worry. And then Ebony finally returned without her usual smile on her face. Suzanne asked what had happened and how she could help. At that moment Ebony burst out crying. She told Suzanne that she had three kids and that in March 2020 they had lost their home, which they could no longer afford to pay for.
For almost two years, the family wandered around the homes of relatives who agreed to shelter them for at least a couple of weeks. There were plenty of relatives, but their homes were cramped, they were scattered across the state, and getting from there to school and work was a challenge. Ebony was already ready to give up. She cried and talked about how she had failed to find a permanent home that she could afford.
Susanne was deeply moved by the story. She asked Ebony for permission to help, and when she got it, she stepped in. The loyal customer was a former social worker, so she knew how to get money for those in need. She first contacted Strategies to End Homelessness, wrote to the City of Cincinnati and the United Way Charitable Trust.
An apartment for Ebony was found! But obviously, that wasn't all. Except for what they were wearing, the large family had virtually nothing. They had nothing to sleep on and nothing to cover themselves with, no dishes, and no curtains on the windows. Suzanne called her friend Jo Burke, who was fixing up the houses before putting them up for the sale and she agreed to give them what they needed. In addition, the local community paid for a handyman to bolt all the hooks and check the pipes.
"I've never had a fully furnished home. I've never had that kind of help. I asked God to put us in a home before Christmas, and He really did."
It took nine months to do the job, but by Christmas the apartment for Ebony had been ready. When the woman and her three kids entered their new home, they couldn't hold back tears. It was a true miracle.
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