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One family's struggle

This morning things couldn’t have looked much worse for the Rocha family of Pass Christian Mississippi. Chris and Amy Rocha have four kids, ages 1 to 11, and another on the way.  They spent a miserable night in their car, stranded in the parking lot of a drugstore in Gulfport, Mississippi.
/ Source: Dateline NBC

This morning things couldn’t have looked much worse for the Rocha family of Pass Christian Mississippi. Chris and Amy Rocha have four kids, ages 1 to 11, and another on the way.  They spent a miserable night in their car, stranded in the parking lot of a drugstore in Gulfport, Mississippi.

The Rochas evacuated to Florida but came back to Gulfport to check on their house and pets.  They found complete devastation— their house so flattened that 7-year-old Katie didn’t recognize it. "It looks like a junk yard!" she says.

Then they ran out of gas and got a flat tire.

“We’re just trying to find some way to fix it and then get on the road and get back east,” says Chris Rocha. “Everything is gone.”

The Rochas made their way to a CVS drugstore and joined a line of over 200 people hoping to get basic necessities. But as of late Wednesday morning, the Rochas and others found only a locked door.

Then, a small blessing — an employee arrives to open the store.

Amy Rocha is able to buy some cookies and lemonade for her hungry kids,  and the treats help restore their good spirits.

As the clouds lift so does the family’s mood.  Katie and her older brother managed to rescue their most treasured possessions: their toys and teddy bear.

And the Rochas found total strangers willing to share what little they had. A CVS employee donates some fix-a-flat to repair their tire.  They hope it will be enough to get them to a gas station or a shelter.

“Everybody’s been real nice,” says Chris.

Then the luckiest break: they got a few gallons of gas from a kind stranger.

They are able to drive off... not into the sunset, but a light rain.

For now they need to go only a few miles, down the road. They will have to face all they lost—their home, the kids’ school, their relatives’ homes. 

All they have left is each other.