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Nonprofits give family of 7 special Christmas after losing everything in June flooding

Posted at 11:40 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 05:23:16-05

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — We often hear it takes a village to make Christmas miracles happen. Well in metro Detroit, that is truly the case.

We want to share the story about a mother of six who lost everything in the Detroit- and Dearborn-area flooding this summer.

They were forced to live in motels for three months and now just before Christmas and thanks to three phenomenal nonprofits coming together in a big way, she and her kids will have a lot to celebrate.

When the flooding slammed both Detroit and Dearborn this summer, thousands of families were devastated, including this mom, who we are not identifying, and her six children.

“So many people have gone through so much hardship, but for you to go through two floods,” WXYZ’s Carolyn Clifford said.

“It was like heartbreaking,” the mother of six children said.

What she could salvage, the Federal Emergency Management Agency helped put in storage, but then a pipe burst in the storage unit and she was left with nothing.

“All their stuff was in the basement they didn't have not one toy left — games, furniture, everything was destroyed,” mom said.

She and her children had to live out of motels for three months until they could finally secure a home a few weeks ago.

“Were you worried especially with the holidays coming and with six kids you might have to celebrate the holidays in a motel?” Clifford asked.

“Oh yeah definitely I just kept praying by Christmas I would be able to cook in my own kitchen, wake up in my own bed,” mom said.

She dialed 211 and was connected to the Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan in Pontiac hoping for beds, but when she reached a woman on the phone, emotions ran high.

“My voice started cracking and she was kind of crying too,” mom said. “It is so traumatic.”

Robert Boyle is the CEO of the Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan. He told us thanks to the United Way, he would be able to furnish this mom's entire home days before Christmas.

“With partners like the United Way behind us, we're able to help families like this family and they'd be sleeping on the floor for the holiday,” Boyle said.

Bryan Van Dorn works in outreach for the United Way. He went to see their contributions firsthand hard at work in our community where it's needed most.

“We have raised and distributed more than $500,000 since the floods in early June and remember, we're in December. This is a time when six months have passed and we're trying to help families with unmet needs due to the floods,” Van Dorn said.

Our cameras were rolling as Phil and Kenyon from the furniture bank delivered everything from beds to dressers, to tables and lamps, even linen, pots and pans. It was enough to furnish the entire home.

“With help from our partners at the United Way and a lot of other great folks in the community, the Furniture Bank is able to help out families like this one and what does this do for your heart tugs at my heart strings,” Boyle said.

Then as a surprise bonus, Metro Detroit Youth Clubs arrived to bring this mom and kids gifts and food for the holidays. Their whole team came to help deliver holiday magic.

“You brought so many gifts and you got a call about this family at the last minute,” Clifford said.

“So, we were really lucky to have a lot of donors this year,” Manal David from Metro Detroit Youth Clubs said. “All of the gifts wrapped including a flat screen and these four Chromebooks were donated by Human I-T."

“I know you gave four today, but you've given many,” Clifford said.

“Our partnership with Human I-T has allowed us just in the last four weeks to deliver 124 Chromebooks,” Brett Tillander, CEO of Metro Detroit Youth Clubs, said.

This story no doubt touches many hearts in our community and keeps the spirit of the holiday alive.