In mid-January, a Columbia Police Department officer approached an occupied car in a parking lot at 3 a.m. He did not expect what he was about to discover.
A family of seven, including five kids ranging from ages seven-months-old to nine-years-old, had been living out of their car since October 2018. They had been trying to get on their feet ever since, but nothing was working in their favor. That night, the officer that found them, as well as his backup officer, each gave the family $10 for gas to get them through the next couple days. “When I asked [the father] about jobs, he showed me a job application that was filled out that he was going to turn in the next day,” said the officer. “He showed me right then and there that he wanted to get out of that situation to provide stability for his kids and his wife. It just really spoke to me.” When the officer left, something told him that he needed to do more for them.
The officer started a GoFundMe for the family, which has raised almost $2,500. He, his wife and their two children have taken the family dinner and invited them over for the Super Bowl. One of the officer’s neighbors paid for three meals a day and a hotel room for a week for them. Community members have dropped off children’s clothes, books, gas cards, and cash at the officer’s house for the family. “I never imagined that the community would respond with such passion,” said the officer. He also took them boxes of Greg’s Groceries provided by us.
A little moment turned into a life-changing story for the family of seven. The family is now receiving assistance from a local program. Through this program, the family will achieve stability. Together, we are better.