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Wesley Chapel rallies to support fire victims

Posted: 10:05 PM, Jan 03, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-03 23:23:09-05

A mother of five and her family lost nearly everything when their home caught fire New Year's Day.  But thanks to an outpouring of support from total strangers, the family is getting help to get back on their feet.

Donna Kriston Farley, her 17-year-old son and 8-year-old triplets just moved to the Heatherstone neighborhood in Wesley Chapel about three months ago. 

New Year's Day, Farley was inside cleaning when she started smelling smoke and soon realized the house was on fire, then got her family out.  Almost just as fast as the home burned, she saw what amazing neighbors she had.

"The neighbors were all coming out with the fire extinguishers trying to help," said Farley.

The efforts of neighbors she hadn't even met didn't stop there.

"Once we realized, you know, the intensity of the situation, my immediate thing was, we need to do something.  So via Facebook, we were able to get together with our community neighborhood and put some things together," said neighbor Jessica Beagle.

But Beagle was overwhelmed by the offers to help in a hurry.  So she set up a central collection point at the community clubhouse.  Donations poured in all weekend.

What especially amazed the family, was seeing the generosity of kids, who brought in some of their own Christmas gifts and toys to help.

"I honestly am amazed.  I mean, these people are wonderful.  They put their arms around us.  Anything they can do, they have done.  The donations, the cards, the well wishes, are amazing," Farley said.

"I mean, this is the definition of a community--people who rally together when people are in need," said Beagle.

Farley admits she hesitated about moving her family across the country.  Despite all she's now lost, she says what she has gained in friendships and community, have brought her to know Wesley Chapel is the best place to call home.

"There's no question in my mind now.  I'm right where I'm supposed to be," Farley said.

If you'd like to help, you can add donations to the list through the Facebook page "Help the Farley Family."