One family received the Christmas present of their dreams -- a home for the holidays.
Latoya Ellis, a single mother who lives with her three kids in Chicago, fell on hard times after she was laid off and eventually evicted from her apartment in August. While homeless, Ellis' story was covered by local TV station ABC7 back in November, and after learning about the single mother and her family, many viewers felt compelled to help.
Among those who reached out to the family, one thoughtful donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, gave them a life-changing gift -- a year's worth of rent.
"I'm still in a state of shock!" Ellis told The Huffington Post of the donor's incredible present.
The single mom told HuffPost that she was working as a manager at fast food chain Jimmy John's, when she was laid off in October of last year. Ellis explained that she got behind on rent and found herself homeless after being evicted. The mom and her kids stayed with friends and family members but eventually ended up at a shelter.
When the news station covered her story, Ellis, who's been an advocate for homeless people, said that she received an outpouring of support from people everywhere. And soon after, her life completely changed. The single mother received a phone call earlier this month from the donor, who said he'd cover a year's worth of rent at the apartment of the family's choice.
"It's indescribable. I didn't know how to process it," Ellis said, recalling her reaction when she received the phone call. "No one has ever done anything like that for me."
The apartment, which Ellis says now has separate rooms for all her kids, isn't the only surprise she received after her story aired. She says people have been donating everything from basic necessities, to job services, to presents for the kids.
With all the support she's gotten Ellis says she has a positive outlook on what's to come. She plans to work and save money to eventually open a catering business. The mom also wants to finish her bachelor's degree, which she's been working on for some time.
And though she has a lot of exciting things on the horizon for her own family, she says that there are many others in need that she will no doubt give back to.
"Most of all, I just want to pay it forward," she said. "I'm going to continue advocating, I'm going to continue volunteering -- it's not just about my family."
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