A Lake City family of eight is getting a leg up from the community after a fire tore their home last week.
No one was in the house at the time of the fire, but most of their belongings were destroyed and their pets were lost.
Nichole Hayes lived there with her parents; her husband, Christopher; and their four kids. It had been her life-long home, and she expected her kids would be there throughout their childhood.
“I just cried all the way home,” Hayes said of returning to the house upon hearing of the fire. “I didn’t know what to expect when I got here.”
The family is now living with Hayes’ sister while they look for a new house. Meanwhile, they’re getting a boost from community members, who’ve responded through an outpouring of donations, including mattresses, shoes and toothbrushes.
The day after the fire, they also received new baseball equipment and jerseys, donated for the children by Amy and Brian Dicks, owners of Brian’s Sports in Lake City.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for a down payment on a new house, and as of Tuesday afternoon, $1,670 had been donated.
“We had no idea people would be this generous,” said Victoria Brush Minatree, Hayes’ sister. “The community is just a blessing.”