RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A young mother's heartbreaking story of sleeping in a car with her children prompted an outpouring of love.
She and her two babies are not homeless anymore. They have a home 24 hours after coming to NBC12 for help. A few of the people who're giving her a new beginning met at the house in Northside where the family will be staying.
Businessman Wallace Warden owns the house, but he's giving the keys to one apartment in that house to Raijene Mallory, her toddler and 4-month-old baby. They went from being a homeless family to having a fresh start overnight.
The property owner gave us a tour of the two bedroom, 900-square-feet fully-renovated apartment.
"I hate to see anybody in the street, especially babies," said Warden. "So, I had a place available here."
The family will move in on Tuesday. He's providing them a few months of free rent and free utilities, a chance until the single mom can stand on her own and raise her family. Warden admits his plans before seeing their sad circumstances was to rent out the property and make some money, but he says helping Raijene is the for the greater good.
You may recall the young mother's tearful plea from two days ago.
"I don't want to lose my kids, because it's dangerous and cold outside, but sometimes I just do what I have to do," said Mallory.
Her struggle went viral on Facebook with more than 1,600 shares. Realtor April Winston saw NBC 12's report and says, "The girl was on the news crying living out of a car, we have to help her."
Winston contacted property owner Wallace Warden. The children well-cared for, loved, and so happy were all the more reason Winston says to keep them that way.
"You don't typically see a 22-year-old that's trying to help. She was crying trying to save her kids. She didn't want to be separated, so I'm like we're going to help her," said Winston.
Marcy Williams, CEO of Kollege and Kareer 4 Youth, once homeless herself, is encouraging Raijene to do her best and reject the rest, including criticism from some for going public.
"She has a house! She has a house. Who gets a house and furniture? Oh My God," said Williams.
All within 24 hours, a support system formed by strangers who vow never to leave her. They represent the numerous job offers, daycare, counseling, clothes, food, home furnishings, even a mechanic to fix her car.
"I want to see her smile and laugh and play with her children and go to work and cook dinners," said Williams. "I want to see her flourish as a young woman and continue to grow. Hold your head up! You have to be strong. Take a deep breath and move forward. It takes a village. The call was put out to the village. The village answered. This is the way it's supposed to be."
Raijene is safe tonight. She will turn the door key and walk into her apartment next week. Today, her little girl was sick and she didn't have transportation, but NBC 12 talked with her earlier and she is very thankful.
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