- BC Games
Christmas comes early for family who lost their home
With a million-watt smile, seven-year-old Constance shakes a beautifully-wrapped Christmas gift.
"A Lego set!" she guesses, listening closely.
Her brother Shaemos, 9, smooths his hand over a larger present and took a breath.
"I think it's a remote control truck," he says.
Their littlest brother, Billy, sits on the floor looking at his presents. This gathering isn't in their home, but an office at Prospera Credit Union in Agassiz. Still, Billy's comfortable and confident in his cowboy hat and boots, and chats about being a cowboy, and his pony, Apples.
"He eats carrots and apples," he says, confidently.
Veronica, Constance's twin, hangs back a little, waiting to hear the words every kid waits to hear on Christmas morning.
"Should we open them now," asks Cindy Helmer, branch manager at Agassiz Prospera Credit Union.
In the blink of an eye, the Santa wrapping goes flying in a festive flurry. Eyes widen. Smiles get even bigger. The kids show their new gifts to their parents. And their guesses were right — Lego for the girls, a remote control truck for Shaemos, and a toy tractor for Billy the cowboy.
"We're the ones whose house burned down," Constance tells a reporter, eyes wide and smile still shining.
The family lost their home to a devastating fire about two weeks ago. Immediately, the community rallied together and raised cash and clothing donations for them. Local businesses donated gift cards totaling $800 for the family, and Prospera gave them $500 to help them get on their feet again. While they are now living in a new home, they have to rebuild from scratch.
The donation from Prospera comes after a massive outpouring online through the children's school, Kent elementary. The principal there, Chris Wejr, initiated a Fundrazr account. To date, that has raised $3,305 for the family.
The fire was caused by an overworked space heater, and no one was injured in the blaze on Dec. 10.