Family hit hard by Hurricane Rita given shelter

first_imgCANYON COUNTRY – When Cynthia and Henry Navarro fled Hurricane Rita as it headed toward their apartment in Tyler, Texas, they met a hurricane of a different kind in Santa Clarita. The good kind. They and their two children moved Nov. 29 into a Canyon Country apartment amid a bustle of community activity. Their rent is paid for a year. Their apartment is fully furnished. Their refrigerator, cupboards and closets are full. And they still haven’t met everyone who made it possible. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “Everybody loves Elmo,” she said, as 2-year-old Anthony Navarro pulled a bouncy red Sesame Street figure from the box. “We were able to completely furnish the apartment, provide clothing and food for the family and set up a great kid’s room and crib for the newborn,” Kennedy said. “It was a joy to be part of this process.” Help also came from local Girl Scout troops, mailbox companies, psychologists and a volunteer who personalized handmade afghans for each family member. More than 40 real estate agents have pledged to cover the rent; utilities have been covered by other donors. “We saw on the news that Hurricane Rita was at Category 3 and headed for Tyler,” Cynthia, 19, said as she poured a glass of juice. “There were two more hurricanes lining up behind it, and we saw how Katrina destroyed New Orleans. We just wanted to get out of there.” Nearly two years ago, the Navarros left downtown Los Angeles to start a new life in Texas where real estate was affordable and they could raise a family in a safe environment. But on Sept. 21, as the hurricane bore down on their home, they packed their 1992 Toyota Tercel with as many belongings as they could, buckled Anthony into his car seat and fled, heading back to the city where Cynthia grew up and her mother still lives in a low-income housing complex. Needing more room, especially since Cynthia was eight months pregnant, the Navarros moved into the Operation Angel Island shelter in the city of Bell. Daughter Amber was born 30 days after they arrived. The Navarros couldn’t believe their luck when Kennedy and Hoffman visited the shelter and selected them. “They are so friendly,” Cynthia said, as Henry calmed Amber, fussy after her morning nap. “To think about other people they don’t even know, that is so wonderful. This community is so beautiful.” The help doesn’t end at the apartment. Henry, 25, a lube technician back in Texas, has been promised a job as a porter at a Valencia Acura. A financial planner is on board to help the young couple and college assistance is being offered to both Cynthia, who wants to study nursing, and Henry, who wants to become an electrician. “We don’t want to go back,” Cynthia said. “This is much nicer than L.A. and much different from Texas. We want to make it here.” For information on Project Town Angels, call (661) 310-2900 or check www.townangels.org. Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252 [email protected] center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals The family was adopted by Project Town Angels, a grass-roots effort by community members to help victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Following a simple 20-point program created by local therapist and project founder Shauna Hoffman, a small group of people asked their friends to do some hands-on helping. Jami Kennedy, one of the project’s organizers, said that the response had been overwhelming. “We wanted to make it so they could move in and not worry about anything for a little while,” Kennedy said. Walking through the small apartment, she pointed out furniture, appliances and toys donated by various sources. Some were gently used, some were brand new. Cathy Harlan, head chef of Dream Dinners, stopped by to deliver several packaged meals, bringing along her two children to carry a box of toys and gift bags for the Navarro children. last_img

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