Community rallies around once-homeless family

A woman helped a family that was once homeless get things they desperately need.

FAIRFAX, VA. (WUSA9) - You may know this quote by Martin Luther King Jr., “Not everyone can be famous, but everyone can be great because greatness is determined by service.”

By that standard, Rachel Needle of Rockville and her community are undoubtedly great.

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The Rockville mom saw a need, put out a call and not only helped a once-homeless family with things they desperately need; she helped them to know they matter.

To say that Hellen Flores and her family, including 8-year-old Alanna, 15-month-old Anessa, and her fiancé Andi had fallen on hard times wouldn’t begin to cover it. Andi lost his job. The family lost their home and everything in it. They slept in shelters, and in their cars. They lived in South Carolina but looked for work up and down the East Coast. Hellen said Alanna told her she was scared, “this is scary, mom, I'm so tired." That broke my heart because I feel the same and I don't know how to comfort her.”

Finally, Andi got a job in northern Virginia, and the family moved there, even though they didn’t know anyone.

Through a connection, Rachel heard about Hellen. Rachel called her, and the two talked. They found they both had a daughter the same age. Hellen recalled, “I never met anyone like her who wanted to help, genuinely because they really care genuinely.”

After many weeks, Hellen and her family got set up at an apartment in Fairfax. They moved in last Friday. The place needed a lot. Rachel decided to post on Facebook, asking her friends for any items they weren’t using that could help Hellen and her family. The response was huge. Rachel said she was blown away. But, Hellen was speechless.

Rachel said, “I just felt we need to do something about this. Those of us who have something to give, we have to stand up and give what we can.  There’s a community out there that she needed to see, that people do care.” 

The community came through with furniture, gift cards, toys, and so much more. All for a family they don't even know. Hellen admits it’s humbling, “I always had this thing where I felt really unseen or unimportant. Through her, I notice people genuinely care, they really do.”

But it’s not just about the toaster or the toys for the kids, although they were needed, Hellen said it’s about friendship and hope, “It's nice to be heard. It's nice to be listened to. That makes me feel like we matter.”

Hellen said she is genuinely grateful, “I wish I could just hug every last person who reached out to her (Rachel) for me. I don't know how else to thank you, guys. I really don't.”

If you want to help, you can donate to the family’s GoFundMe page.

Hellen said she’s looking for a job doing administrative work and wants to use her skills to help people just like Rachel and her friends helped her.

© 2018 WUSA-TV


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