CHICAGO -- A homeless Chicago family now has a fresh start, thanks to the kindness of strangers. One anonymous Good Samaritan even paid for a year's worth of rent for the family in need.
The Ellis family was recently profiled by our sister station WLS in Chicago. Since then, it's been a life-changing month for the family with viewers calling in and asking how they could help.
The biggest gift was being able to move out of a shelter and into a place they can call home.
"Man, I couldn't have hoped for anything better," said LaToya Ellis.
She always told her three children to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. They were about a month from having to move out of a shelter when ABC7 reporter Ben Bradley told their story.
"It all came at once, and I'm just happy that it did come," said Burgendy Ellis, 16.
Within days, the story gained steam and people from across the country responded by donating gift cards, furniture, and even a place to live.
"Almost like a dream, you know, I never would have imagined that things would have changed so drastically so quickly," LaToya said.
"For them to open their arms and you know, see us in this situation, it just made me, you know, kinda brought a little tear to my eyes," Burgendy said.
An unnamed donor paid off a year's worth of rent for an apartment on Chicago's West Side. The family says they're overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.
Now they want to give back and help others.
"I want to help with the homeless since I know exactly how it feels to go through that certain situation," Gabrielle Ellis said.
LaToya's 8-year-old son Tristian says he's most excited about spending Christmas together as a family.
"Excited? My head about to blow off!" Tristian said.
LaToya says people are still asking her how they can help. She says she wants to open a catering business and she is planning to go back to school in the spring to continue working on getting her bachelor's degree.
Anonymous donor pays homeless Chicago family's rent for a year