Generous strangers reclaim stolen Christmas

WILMINGTON, Del. - December 22, 2011

For a low income family, there are few things worse than coming home three days before Christmas and discovering that all the presents you bought for your four young kids as well as those donated by the Salvation Army were stolen.

Jessica Fernandez and her husband both work at the Family Dollar. They were at work Thursday morning when thieves broke in through a window and stole all the presents as well as the kids Nintendo DS video game system, a laptop and clothes.

"I spent all my money to do this in two pay checks like working and all that stuff, and they do that," said Fernandez.

"I wanted to cry for her," said Brenda Britt. "She's worked so hard for this. She's been doing it for the last couple months just to prepare for Christmas for the four boys she has."

The evening began with no gifts under the Fernandez Christmas Tree, and Jessica trying to figure out how to explain the ordeal to her children.

But that was before she received a surprise visit from two neighborhood organizations.

When members of the Latino Peace Officers Association learned what happened to the family, they wanted to do something about it.

"These are donations from all the police officers and other organizations that actually help us out," said Lt. Ruben Martinez.

The officers came with lots of toys, and they had one more surprise before they left.

"We also have a $100 gift certificate so you can use either Sears or Kmart ," said Lt. Martinez.

"Thank you so much, I really appreciate it," said Jessica. "I know they're gonna have a good one."

Judging by the smiles on their faces, Jessica and her boys were very surprised.

But the Fernandez family had another visitor shortly afterwards.

"We're from the Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center," said Nickea Rowe. Her organization heard about the stolen gifts and left a few surprises of their own.

Jessica was overwhelmed and moved to tears.

The family went from no presents under the Christmas tree to lots and lots of toys.

Thanks to the Latino Peace Officers and the Lutheran Neighborhood Care center, it will be a very Merry Christmas for the Fernandez family.

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