OKEECHOBEE - A family of four, who recently arrived in Okeechobee from California, is struggling to get on their feet in their new hometown. The family left California with hopes of a better life. They drove across the country, living out of their van and homeschooling their children. Their plan was to let the children experience the natural wonders of all the states they passed through on their way to Okeechobee.
When they arrived here, they fell in love with the community but have found it difficult to find work or a place to stay.
Okeechobee Police Sgt. Dawn Wendt met them Tuesday night and discovered they had planned to head to the coast to try their luck there, but their van was having some mechanical trouble.
Wendt said the two very well-behaved children were enjoying peanut butter sandwiches for dinner, and their mom said she had beans and rice to cook later. She was having difficulty with cooking because of the cold weather and was trying to cook inside the van. Wendt left them with well wishes and told them to call if they needed anything, but as she sat down to eat her own dinner, she began worrying about the family.
Wendt and her officers were greeted with heart-felt thanks and an abundance of tears. The children immediately began putting the groceries away and were most excited about the jug of sweet tea.
Officer Ramon Liberato made the decision to get them into a hotel room for the night, because he felt it was too cold for them to be sleeping in a van. A second person came forward to pay for tonight’s hotel room.
Liberato set up a GoFundMe page to help get them back on their feet. “I am praying for and asking our community to come together and help out a family in need. We hope we can show them what a great community can do to help a struggling family get back on its feet,” said Liberato.
The GOFundMe can be accessed at GoFundMe Help a struggling family