Homeless family thanks Granville students for support

Posted May 9, 2011 1:43 p.m. EDT
Updated May 9, 2011 6:22 p.m. EDT

— A homeless family traveled from Florida to Oxford so they could thank students at North Granville Middle School in person on Monday for their kindness and generosity.

Destiny Corfee and her family spent the day at the school, visiting with students and attending an ice cream party.

Destiny, 11, was one of the students in Orlando, Fla., featured on a "60 Minutes" segment two months ago about the growing number of U.S. children growing up in poverty. Her parents lost their jobs, and the family's home went into foreclosure, forcing them to live in a van in a Walmart parking lot for a few days.

Some North Granville Middle students who saw the segment wrote letters of encouragement to Destiny and raised enough money to provide her, her two brothers and her parents with Walmart gift cards.

"I wanted to tell her about the (things) I had to go through the same way she had to go through," eighth-grader Joseph Morris said. "I just wanted to make her feel happy."

Destiny said she reads the letters every night before she goes to bed because they give her strength.

"It meant so much to me," she said.

The Oxford students said hearing Destiny's story and seeing her courage to share the family's difficulties on national television inspired them.

"I felt sad that people had to go through that," sixth-grader Destiney Lassiter said. "(I've learned) to be thankful for what I have."

When they heard that the Corfee family wanted to drive to Granville County to thank the students for their support, the students and family friends chipped in money to pay for their gas, and the school arranged for them to stay at a Raleigh hotel free of charge.

"Just saying thank you on the telephone didn't mean enough. We actually had to come and say thank you," an emotional David Corfee, Destiny's father, told the students. "So little can do so much. Just knowing that someone cares."

Corfee recently obtained a job as a landscaper, allowing the family to move into a mobile home. Still, Destiny is trying to persuade her parents to move to North Carolina because of the new bonds they have in Granville County.

"Hope is always there. Never lose hope on anything," she said.

"She's like one of my best friends now, and she's really cool," Destiney Lassiter said.