Strangers help save family's Christmas after burglars trashed home

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The generosity of perfect strangers helped save a Houston family's Christmas. Eyewitness News first told you about the Pineda family on Tuesday.

Ruben and Sabrina Pineda were in the process of trying to salvage the holiday after burglars broke into their home. The crooks stole most of the unwrapped gifts purchased for their children: Noah, Molly, Mia and Zoey.

ABC13 viewers responded in an overwhelming way.

Some donated toys to the family. Others donated cash through a crowdfunding website.

ABC13 viewer Felix Lizcano donated bikes for the Pineda's four children.

Lizcano said their story hit him hard. He lost his 2-day-old son Felix in December 1993.

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He buried the little boy only to come that day and find his house burglarized.
"I felt like it was me going through it all over again 24 years ago," said Lizcano. "I saw the kids' faces. They were distraught. She was crying. They felt violated. They were scared to be back in their home. The Grinch is not going to steal our joy."

The Pinedas said their lives have been turned upside down by perfect strangers.

"This is going to end up being a Christmas they never forget in a good way," said Ruben Pineda. "They are going to remember for the rest of their life that people reached out and helped our family in our time of need."

The response has been great.

Zoey said she wants to donate some of the extra toys to another family in need. Without realizing it, she's learned to pay it forward because of others' generosity.

"All the ugly that has happened. This has renewed my faith in humanity. It's beautiful. It's beautiful," said Sabrina Pineda. "It's going to be a memorable one. I don't think we're ever going to forget this. The girls are never going to forget this. They're so excited."

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