Polk County Family Of Fire Victims Celebrates Year In New Home - WFLA News Channel 8

Polk County Family Of Fire Victims Celebrates New Year In New Home

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Jeraldine Donaldson, in December, 2011 Jeraldine Donaldson, in December, 2011
POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The first time we met Jeraldine Donaldson and her five grandchildren they had just lost their home, all their possessions, even every donated Christmas gift they'd been given by strangers.

It was December 2011. 

Fast forward just more than a year, and a lot has changed for the Babson Park family.  They're back on the same plot of land on Cody Road but now in brand new digs.

"It's just a feeling I can't explain," said Donaldson. "Just was a good feeling knowing that it was mine, you know," she explained.

A mysterious donor made it possible for Donaldson and her grandkids to move into a new house complete with all new furniture, appliances and necessities.

Donaldson's 9-year-old grandson Sam says he's impressed with just about everything.

"We used to didn't have fans on the ceiling," he said. "We used to have regular fans, like regular fans like on the ground and stuff."

Granddaughter Sharell who's 12 says she was initially very worried about losing everything she and the family owned.

"While I was watching it burn down I was worrying like oh my gosh all  my clothes, my shoes, the Christmas tree, the presents, and my cousin she told me that all those things that I just mentioned they were just material things. They could all be replaced," she said. 

And everything was replaced through the generosity and kindness of the community.  Donaldson says the Care Center in Lake Wales, a non-profit organization, helped provide most of the help and necessities she's required in the last year.

It was also one of the Care Center's long time supporters that became Donaldson's mystery home donor. 

"I never wanted for anything. They took care of me the whole year through and still taking care of me, so I thank God for them," Donaldson said.

Donaldson lived in her previous home for 30 years. She says there were times it seemed irreplaceable but not any more.

"Oh this is home too. It feels like home too. Call this home for the rest of my life, God's will."

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