SAN MARCOS, Calif. -- A community has banded together to help a pregnant mother, her husband, and their four children, who lost nearly everything while escaping the explosive wildfires that hit Southern California.
Last Wednesday, the San Marcos home they rented – and had planned to buy – was consumed by the flames; all of their clothes, food and belongings went up in smoke.
Stanley and Amanda Sekerke have four children, ranging in ages from 2 to 9, with one on the way. With only five minutes to flee, they left the house with nothing but diapers and baby wipes.
But thanks to the kindness of Good Samaritans near and far, the family is getting a fresh start.
When their close friend Jessica Jones set up a time and place for people to drop off donations, people showed up en masse.
One person even arrived with a U-Haul.
Terri Antman, who said the family’s story “tugs at my heart,” delivered 65 pieces of hand-made clothing.
"We are ... extremely thankful," said Stanley Sekerke. "It's where you kinda want to think, 'How can I repay it? How can I do to them what they did to me?'"
Monday marked a return to some measure of normalcy for the two oldest Sekerke children, both girls, who finally returned to school.
"We've been bouncing around a bit but they were really excited to go back to school and see their friends and we wanted to do that right away as soon as school reopened and get them back in their routine," Amanda Sekerke said.
The girls, like the rest of their family, are grateful for the outpouring of support.
“Thanks for giving me those wonderful things,” said 5-year-old Sage.
The family’s GoFundMe website has raised nearly $7,000 as of Monday afternoon, and several visitors to the page have offered to send clothes and baby supplies. Their goal is to reach $10,000, for assistance with temporary housing, food and clothes. A second GoFundMe website, set up by family friend Jessica Jones, has come close to raising that amount.
"The community support is has been amazing," said Amanda Sekerke. "Words can't describe. I want to hug and thank everyone individually and as I get my Facebook messages I try to respond to each and every one of them and just express my thanks to their contributing to the funds and getting our family going again."