Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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Local Family Given Shopping Spree Following Devastating Fire

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Albany/HV: Local Family Given Shopping Spree Following Devastating Fire
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LATHAM, N.Y. -- After losing their home and personal possessions in a devastating fire, a local family is given a free back to school shopping spree.

"They lost their toys, they lost their clothes, and beds, it was mostly smoke damage. It was bad," said Razalia Smith, shopping spree recipient.

The Smith family, including eight children, was left homeless after an electrical fire destroyed their home and most of their belongings.

"I just broke down and cried because it was our home. Then my oldest son started crying and then the rest of the kids started crying. It was just hurtful because it felt like we lost a part of the family," said Razalia.

"I think every day that that would be one of my worst nightmares, is to lose my home, lose my belongings, and to put eight kids into the picture? I can't imagine," said Kimberly Celona, Peek A Boutique owner.

"All we kept doing was praying," said Razalia.

Prayers that Razalia says have now been answered. A friend told their story to Peek-A-Boutique owner in Latham, who then put the word out to raise money for the family's back to school shopping.

"It was really a lot of people who really put their minds together and put their wallets in place and really helped to fund this," said Celona.

Money trickled in steadily from the community, but a surprise donation from the Pepper Rayfield Hope Foundation really got the ball rolling.

"I walk into work one day and there was a note that said you've been peppered and inside was a very large check that really made a lot of this possible," said Celona.

"It truly is great people out there, truly is. I'm very grateful and I appreciate it a lot because it was very hard, very hard," said Razalia.

But with new clothes and supplies for the New Year, there is hope that the hardest times are over.

"You could just see the gratitude on their faces and then to see the kids put the stuff on the counter with big smiles and want to take the stuff out of the bags was just really adorable and I think their faces really said it all," said Celona.

"I always teach them, when people give, you give too. You help others, and my kids, they're good kids," said Celona.

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