Neighbors pitch in to help scam victims

Strangers reach out

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - What a difference one week makes. The first time I met the Flannerys, they had no idea where September's rent would come from.  "It is like you work hard for your money and take care of your family and something like this happens and it is a big shot to the chest," says Rick Flannery.

The family's bank account was wiped out. Hundreds of dollars gone after Rachel fell for what appeared to be legitimate part-time work, but turned out to be a mystery shopper rip-off. "We just wanted to share our story and say please be careful," says Rachael.

Largo's Leif Oskarsson saw the Flannerys story. It touched a chord. Leif, who now owns a Jiffy Lube, was also once ripped off when he could least afford it.  "I just tried to help them with the most important in my opinion, was the rent for the month to make sure they don't have to worry about the rent," Leif told us.

A stranger's generosity lifted this family's biggest financial worry. Rachael told me, "I am just speechless, I really am.  I was like shocked and amazed.  We were not expecting it."

Catholic Charities' Anne Winkler also saw the Flannerys story. The Winter Haven Office assists families who need emergency help. That is just what they provided Rick and Rachel and their two little girls. "We are going to be paying the rent for October, so once that is paid they are going to be getting on track with their funding," says Winkler.

In a matter of days, the Flannerys went from desperate and worried to thankful and relieved. "It is just so awesome how people were able to give and help us out. It is a tremendous amazement.  Like I said, a gift from God."

The Women's Resource Center of Winter Haven also pitched in to pay the Flannery's overdue power bill.

Now if you would like to help out either the Women's Resource Center or Catholic Charities just email me.

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