Ebony Johnson, 33, from the Cincinnati area, is a mom of three who works the drive-thru at Dunkin’. Earlier this year, Johnson missed a few days of work and one of her customers, Suzanne Burke, immediately noticed she was gone.
"I was worried that maybe she had COVID or I’m like, ‘I hope she didn’t quit. She’s the best person here,’" Burke told FOX Business.
Johnson said she had been evicted and she and her kids were living with her mother.
When Johnson got back to working at the Dunkin’ drive-thru, she said Burke offered to help.
"From there, we met and Ms. Suzanne’s been with me through my struggle," Johnson said.
Burke said that after the two met up, she launched a GoFundMe called "Dunkin Employee Ebony’s Emergency Fund" and spent months alongside Johnson looking for an apartment for Johnson and her family.
Finally, in November, Johnson found an apartment and signed the lease, Burke said.
When she heard the news, Burke said she asked Johnson if she had any furniture, since she had been without housing for so long.
When Johnson said she didn’t have furniture, Burke decided to call in her friend Jo Potvin – an interior designer and owner of the Cincinnati-based home staging company Design to Market.
Potvin then called New Life Furniture Bank and asked if the organization would be able to donate some of its furniture to Johnson, in addition to some of the pieces of furniture that would be coming from Design to Market’s warehouse, Potvin told FOX Business.
Together, Design to Market and New Life Furniture Bank – which runs a program to help people overcoming challenging situations called Design with a Heart – fully furnished Johnson’s apartment.
New Life Furniture’s Executive Director Dana Saxton told FOX Business that she and Potvin were able to meet with Johnson and "hear what her hopes and desires were for her home and what her needs were" so they could furnish her apartment accordingly.
They also decorated the apartment for the holidays so when Johnson and her kids saw the furnished apartment for the first time on Dec. 4, "it wasn’t just a home, but it was a home ready for Christmas," Potvin said.
When she saw her fully furnished apartment for the first time, Johnson said she was "happy, amazed and thankful."
Burke said she’s still running the GoFundMe to help Johnson build her emergency savings and buy a car to can get to work and drive her children to school.
Until they’re able to reach that point, Johnson said she’s glad to have a home for herself and her children in time for the holidays.
She added: "That’s all I kept praying to God, ‘Could you please have us in our home before Christmas?’ Because I want to celebrate the holiday with my kids the right way.’"