National News

Community rallying to help family of 11 left homeless from fire

Posted August 25

— A family of 11 is struggling to make ends meet after losing their home to a fire earlier this summer, and now the community is stepping in to help.

Alethea Smooth is doing her best to keep her children smiling. On Thursday, she and her nine children spent the afternoon at the park. The kids were happy, but the last two months have been a struggle.

"[My daughter] had a birthday the other day. I couldn't afford to do anything for her but we were all together, thank God," said Smooth.

Together is the most important part. And thankfully none of the children were home when their house on Oak Court near Paige caught fire June 30. The fire department says the cause is still unknown.

But the family lost everything.

The children range from 1-17 and most of them returned to school last week. At a back to school supply drive, Smooth met State Rep. Bruce Franks. Now Franks is organizing a donation drive to help the family.

"We often times talk about how it takes a village. Well this is time to bring this village together and rally behind this family," said Franks.

They are collecting children's sizes, girls size 12- 24 months, 10-12, 14-16, Boys size 5t, 10, 14, 32, 34. Smooth also says diapers are a major need.

For now, they are bouncing between hotels and family members, Smooth and the father of the children are working to try to find somewhere permanent. But with the loss of paper work and documents in the fire, it's been a challenge.

"The struggle is real, we've been out here two months, me and my kids father just trying to hold it down, for these kids, we can't give up, we won't give up."


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