GULFPORT, Fla. — The Gulfport community is helping a single mom of four young boys overcome homelessness.
Kelley McDonald's sons are all between the ages of 3-12 and for 4 months, the family was without a stable place to live.
Their struggles caught the attention of Gulfport Montessori Elementary School's guidance counselor, Sarah Flick, who often hears stories that give her goosebumps. Yet, McDonald's situation stood out.
“This family has tugged on our entire school’s heartstrings for awhile,” she said with a sigh.
Flick says McDonald's boys never missed a day of school, despite living in shelters or at the homes of various friends and family members.
“This mom is a hard working momma. She is a hard working momma bear and she wants to help her boys,” Flick explained.
McDonald says a struggle with mental health cost her her job and home, but she did everything she could to keep her boys safe and healthy.
"It's hard being a single mom, but it's even harder when you have a mental illness," McDonald elaborated.
McDonald worked hard to get treatment and get back on her feet. She was able to rent a home but didn't have anything to put in it.
“She was like, 'I have a house, but I have nothing in it.' I knew immediately we had to get involved,” Flick said.
So Flick contacted the Gulfport Neighbors Group and tapped into the Gulfport Police Department for support.
"Gulfport is a small town with a huge heart,” explained Officer Zachary Mills, who is the resource officer for the police department.
The donations started piling in and filled up Mill's pickup truck…again and again!
“It’s amazing! It is amazing,” McDonald said while wiping back tears.
The community pitched in to donate furniture, dishware, mattresses, bedding, toys, food and gift cards for the family.
“It touches me so deep inside. My boys are going to be so happy,” McDonald said as tears slid down her cheeks.
For a mom who lost everything but hope, she says this is a miracle.
“It means so much. This is my second chance,” McDonald said, hugging her 3-year-old son Ziggy in her arms.
If you'd like to help the McDonald family, you can email Officer Zachary Mills at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 727-893-1693.