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Single mom helped by strangers 17 years ago now repaying acts of kindness

She adopts a family in need every Christmas
Posted at 3:43 PM, Dec 19, 2019

Seventeen years have passed since strangers responded to an ABC Action News story about a local single mom fighting to get back on her feet after a brain aneurysm. Now, that same woman is paying that kindness forward to help other families struggling during the holidays.

Every Christmas, Nancy Potwine makes a call for action but not for herself. She asks ABC Action News to find a family in need of adopting for the holidays.

This year, we introduced Potwine to Kayleigh Coleman. Coleman and her fiancé simply couldn’t afford gifts for their kids this holiday.

Coleman told us, “I was worried about what I was going to do for my children, that's for sure.”

Then she landed on Nancy’s Christmas list. Potwine and her longtime friend Jennifer Cristiano-Levesque bought, wrapped and delivered bags full of toys, clothing and food to Coleman and her entire family.

One-year-old Eliza, 5-year-old Sophia and 8-year-old Cadence were all smiles as they opened a couple of the presents on their wish list before the big day. Then, it was mom's turn. Along with the Tupperware and groceries, Nancy and Jennifer delivered a small sign that read, “Make Today Amazing.”

Coleman put it on a shelf in the family room and said, “Thank you, thank you so much. It is an amazing day.”

Nancy told ABC Action News she’ll never forget us the strangers who came forward to help her and her young son.

“The whole city of Tampa supported me for a few months,” Nancy said.

It's the sixth year Nancy and Jennifer have adopted a family for Christmas. Jennifer said she gets emotional every time they make a delivery.

“Everyone deserves something under the tree," she said.