'I'm so grateful': Homeless mother of 4 responds to outpouring of help from Houstonians

Jessica Willey Image
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Heartbreaking story from mother of 4 inspires outpouring of support from community
Heartbreaking story from mother of four inspires outpouring of support from community.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In less than 24 hours, Kenia Madrigal went from hopeless to humbled.

"I'm still in shock. I still don't believe it," she said. "I can't believe there's that many people willing to help me, of all people. I don't believe I'm somebody for them to want to help."

Tuesday night, Madrigal showed Eyewitness News how she and her four children, ages 11, 8, 3, and 1, sleep in a car.

RELATED: Houston mother of 4 sleeping in car after eviction receives thousands in donations

"I take the car seats out. I put the seats down, and these go all the way back. So, me and my oldest are here while the youngest are in the back," she explained.

They have spent many nights in the small SUV since June when they were evicted from their home after Madrigal was laid off and could not pay the rent.

After the story aired on Eyewitness News, a co-worker at her new job set up a fundraising account and hundreds of people from across the country donated.

The GoFundMe page has since reached more than $61,000. The initial goal was $800.

Madrigal now hopes to do something meaningful with the money for her children's future.

"My goal was to get enough to get into a place, and now I can actually give them a home," she said.

Eyewitness News heard from viewers offering homes, apartments and higher paying jobs. Nonprofits like Kids' Meals Inc. also reached out.

"During this pandemic, we don't want anyone going hungry," Executive Director Beth Braniff Harp said.

Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM) also contacted Eyewitness News. Both organizations can connect people to the help they need.

"We want to make sure that families, like you focused on, get the help they need as soon as possible. We don't want them living in their cars," said Brian Carr, chief advancement officer of Northwest Assistance Ministries.

Madrigal is still wrapping her head around the outpouring of support, she said it was life changing.

"Thank you. Thank you. I'm so grateful. I'm very blessed," Madrigal said.

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