SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Some San Jose State students are feeling the holiday spirit firsthand just days after thieves targeted the house they share near campus. Laptops and other valuables were stolen while they were on break from classes. And the loss hurts even more because they're from Central Valley families of modest means. However, their setback has created an opportunity for others to chip in and help.
"We're just working so hard to better our lives, for us and our families, and it just sucks," said burglary victim Gabriela Avila.
On Christmas Day, the house Avila shares with six other students was ransacked. Laptops, a camera, and jewelry were stolen. But it was the gifts stolen from under the tree that hurt the most. They were gifts for her family in Manteca. Avila worked two jobs to pay for them, along with her rent, tuition, and school expenses.
"We come from a low-income family," she said. "And my sister and I work really hard to like try to get our family to a better place, so it was just devastating not having them open the gifts that i worked hard for."
Housemate Alexis Mejia brought her dog Ziggy from Fresno to serve as a watchdog while the landlord considers security upgrades.
"Why steal from seven young women that are trying to better their lives?" asked Avila.
The deep-felt feeling of loss has changed, however, to one of joy. Their friend Adam Miranda started a GoFundMe page, and donations have been pouring in to be divided among the seven women.
"For us to experience something from such ruthless people, people that aren't thinking about other people when they're doing this type of stuff, and then for people to come forward to help complete strangers, I think is great," said Mejia.
Some are anonymous contributions. Others are from San Jose State alumni and staff members.
"Amazing, incredible to me, and just reassures the fact there are still good people willing to help, even complete strangers," said Miranda.
The money will help them replace laptops for school.
If you'd like to make a donation to their GoFundMe page, click here.
Thieves steal valuables, presents from SJSU students on Christmas Day