MIAMI (CBS4) – A small group of parents, students, and church leaders gave the Rodriguez family a warm welcome that they needed in the parking lot of Gladeview Christian School Wednesday. They came to give them items donated by friends, and local news viewers.
Seven-year-old Abigail Rodriguez got barbies, paper dolls, and more.
“She’s got triple what Santa was gonna leave her,” laughed Abigail’s mother Aymara Rodriguez, hugging the little girl.
The gifts already under the family Christmas tree were destroyed in a fire Sunday, along with everything else in the Rodriguez’ home. It happened just two days before Christmas and it’s still tough for them.
“We have our moments, the kids have their moments, like (Abigail) will ask me for things in her room. She gets her moments, she gets sad. But we’re like, ‘look what matters is you’re ok,’” said Aymara.
The family members have clung to each other- but they never expected so much help from the parents at the kids’ school and even strangers.
“We’ve got clothing, things for their pets- they have five pets. Basically items for all their needs,” said Gladeview Church Pastor Luis Couvertier.
The pastor told CBS4′s Natalia Zea that generous people are not only donating items. They’re also putting up cash and checks. In fact the pastor says they’ve already raised more than three thousand dollars for the family.
Neighbors 4 Neighbors also helped, by donating $100 in Publix gift cards, and have promised an additional $100 in Walmart gift cards.
The generosity of the community is overwhelming for husband, father and mixed martial arts fighter Haender “Cubita” Rodriguez. He said, “When you see people out there trying to make you have a better day, it gives you the strength to keep going and going.”
The family says the night before the fire they ran into a homeless woman outside a gas station- and they bought her something to eat. They had no idea that they would soon be the ones who need help.
Help that the church, and the community is glad to give them.