The sun was barely peeking through the crevices of Candice Bloomfield’s bedroom window when she franticly reached for the phone to dial 911. In that moment in those early waking hours, her family’s entire world changed with her husband’s sudden death from cardiovascular disease.
“The Lord just took him home,” said Bloomfield. “That began a very hard journey for me. I had to get back on my feet and learn how to do things on my own again.”
Broken by the death of her husband, Bloomfield struggled to support her five children as a single mother. She made strides on her own in Queens, N.Y. for five years before meeting her second husband, Kingsford Bloomfield.
“My children became his children,” Bloomfield said. “We’re in a place now where I’d never thought we’d be.”
With a baby on the way, the couple arrived in Orlando last year with hopes of giving their children a better life. They wanted to take their ordinary house and transform it into a home — a place where they could create memories and live comfortably as a family.
“It’s a blessing that I found Mustard Seed,” Bloomfield said.
The non-profit organization helps rebuild the lives of families and individuals who have suffered disaster or personal tragedy. By providing household furnishings and clothing, the Mustard Seed of Central Florida has enabled those in need to take control of their futures with dignity and confidence for over 30 years.
To raise the necessary funds, the agency will be hosting its sixth annual Chairs 4 Charity event on April 1 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Art & History Museums – Maitland. Using a humdrum chair as their canvas, eight Central Florida artists will render a vibrant masterpiece to be sold in a live auction at the event.
Painter Jessilyn Park’s passion for realistic nature scenes encouraged her to participate in this year’s event. Bursts of fiery red and citrus orange adorn the front of her otherwise plain Adirondack chair. Her bold choice of color is complimented by a midnight blue sky.
Park said she is hopeful that her artistic talent will encourage potential buyers to spend a pretty penny. In turn, that money can go toward assisting others facing hard times.
“The Mustard Seed gives people a second chance,” Park said. “They don’t give handouts, they give a hand up.”
Bloomfield and her family were able to furnish their unborn daughter’s room with a wooden rocking crib, a changing table and a cherry red couch from the Mustard Seed. A set of chairs put the finishing touches on their family living room.
“You find yourself in places where you really need help, and there are people who will really help you,” Bloomfield said. “They’re not there to take anything from you or scam you. They’re out there to help.”
In the midst of transforming their new house into a home, Bloomfield stressed to her children the importance of remembering where they started from and how far they have come. Before settling in Orlando, the Bloomfields lived in a hotel room and a family shelter.
Their oldest son, Lemuel Bloomfield, 12, has enjoyed watching movies with his family in their newly furnished living room. He said things are starting to look up, which has helped strengthen the family dynamic.
“Everything is really coming together, and it has helped bring us together,” Lemuel said.
With a newly furnished house and a baby on the way, Bloomfield is looking forward to the future. She said the Mustard Seed’s dedication to helping needy Central Florida families is exemplary.
“I know how it feels to have nothing — to be taken to a place of pure tragedy and not know how you got there,” Bloomfield said. “We need more organizations like this, for real families in real crises. It would be such a gift for children to be able to have a couch to sit on and a mattress to sleep on.”