Officer's act of kindness sparks community outreach for homeless family

Rick Williams Image
Sunday, December 6, 2015
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A Ridley Township police officer's act of kindness inspires community outreach for a homeless family.

RIDLEY TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- Eleanor Gehret and her daughter Jennifer, who suffers from a serious health condition, found themselves behind on rent and unable to pay mounting medical bills.

Just this week, they were evicted from their home, and with no place to go, they were forced to live on the street.

"It was very cold, and it was very wet," said Eleanor Gehret.

A Ridley officer, Cpl. Jason McDevitt, saw the family camped outside a Raymour and Flannigan store on Thursday.

"She just looked to be hungry and thirsty," said McDevitt.

Under normal circumstances, it would have been a routine stop. But the ladies touched his heart so he decided to help.

"I went to Wawa also, got them a couple drinks, a couple sandwiches, something to eat for the rest of the day, some hot soups because they were definitely cold," said McDevitt.

But the story of a good deed doesn't end there.

In this case, it turned out to be one that will show just how far a community will go to reach out to those who need it most.

A passerby saw McDevitt helping the family, and stopped to lend a hand.

The two set up a GoFundMe page, and word spread fast.

In just 24 hours, the community raised more than $10,000.

"This community has been great. They've really reached out," said McDevitt.

Our cameras were rolling when McDevitt delivered the good news to Eleanor and Jennifer Friday morning.

"We paid all the back rent that you owed, and then also we paid for two months rent," said McDevitt.

The funds will go toward helping the family stay in their home.

Eleanor said she now believes in Christmas miracles.

"This is one major miracle because I never through anything like this would happen," said Eleanor Gehret.