'I'm very blessed': Mother of 4 evicted during COVID-19 pandemic responds to outpouring of help

HOUSTON, Texas -- In less than 24 hours, Kenia Madrigal went from hopeless to humbled.

"I'm still in shock. I still don't believe it," she said. "I can't believe there's that many people willing to help me, of all people. I don't believe I'm somebody for them to want to help."

Tuesday night, Madrigal showed the ABC station in Houston how she and her four children, ages 11, 8, 3, and 1, sleep in a car after getting evicted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I take the car seats out. I put the seats down, and these go all the way back. So, me and my oldest are here while the youngest are in the back," she explained.

They have spent many nights in the small SUV since June when they were evicted from their home after Madrigal was laid off and could not pay the rent.

After the story went public, a co-worker at her new job set up a fundraising account and hundreds of people from across the country donated.
Madrigal now hopes to do something meaningful with the money for her children's future.

"My goal was to get enough to get into a place, and now I can actually give them a home," she said.


In addition to monetary donations, Madrigal received offers of homes, apartments and higher paying jobs. Nonprofits like Kids' Meals Inc. also reached out.

"During this pandemic, we don't want anyone going hungry," Executive Director Beth Braniff Harp said.

Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM) also reached out to help; both organizations can connect people to the help they need.
"We want to make sure that families, like you focused on, get the help they need as soon as possible. We don't want them living in their cars," said Brian Carr, chief advancement officer of Northwest Assistance Ministries.

Madrigal is still wrapping her head around the outpouring of support, she said it was life changing.

"Thank you. Thank you. I'm so grateful. I'm very blessed," Madrigal said.
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