Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Update on Homeless Girl & Mom

Yesterday was quite a day to watch events unfold for Katy and Liz. Online media is an amazing tool! Today many of your efforts will start coming to fruition. And I hope more people will get on board to help. Here's a few highlights of yesterday's events:

7:20 a.m.: Katy posted on her blog, grateful that I had talked of their plight in my own post for the day. She and her mom felt so blessed. Already Katy had seen close to 200 hits on her blog. (She'd started out at around 25.)

9:30 a.m.: I sent out first tweet about my post regarding Liz and Katy. I would continue to tweet throughout the day, linking to my blog post and Katy's. These tweets feed to Facebook. I asked people to retweet.

9:40 a.m.: I received an email from someone on Twitter who'd taken it upon herself to email the Mercury News, the local San Jose paper, alerting them to my blog post and Liz and Katy's plight.

11:00 a.m.: Katy's blog had 465 hits.

12 noon: By this time responses to my tweets and Facebook updates were coming in steadily. Many people were picking up the story, re-tweeting it and putting it on their own Facebook pages. People were leaving comments on my blog and on Katy's blog. Plus a group of Christian novelists in the San Jose area were stepping in to help. One offered her garage for storage space. Another got her church involved in providing food. Another said she had an SUV to help Liz and Katy move their belongings from their old apartment on the following day (today).

3:30 p.m.: Received a tweet from a gal saying she'd contacted three local radio stations and six local TV stations about the story. Many more tweets were coming in with notes of people praying and wanting to help. I also received numerous private questions about whether I knew these homeless people. Folks were afraid of being scammed. That saddened me. The reality is, we live in a world of so many con artists, it's hard to know when someone really does need our help.

5:00 p.m.: Received a tweet from another gal saying she'd sent a note to Mike Huckabee through Twitter regarding the story.

5:30 p.m.: Katy's blog had over 1200 hits. Even so, only $160 in Paypal donations had come in to my account. I tweeted again, begging for more help. Only after I tweeted did I remember that people could also be sending checks directly to Liz and Katy's P.O. Box, as I had already done. That made me feel better!

7:00 p.m.: A local Christian novelist/attorney direct mailed me on Twitter, offering his services should Liz want to fight her eviction proceedings, and to help her find a job. I gave him Liz's email address, and he contacted her directly.

10:00 p.m.: Katy's blog had 1645 hits. By this time I knew various people had sent personal checks to the P.O. Box address. I'd gathered $235 through Paypal, which I am putting in the mail today.

I don't know what today will bring. I hope some--at least one--message to larger media such as radio or TV will snag some interest. Katy is an amazing 16-year-old. Smart, computer savvy and very talented as an artist. She is putting a face on the plight of the working class falling into homelessness. Also this is a great testament to the power of online media. That's another angle for some newspaper article, should one be willing to pick up the story.

I hope you all will help me continue to spread the word. By your efforts, Katy and Liz will not spend tonight in their cold car. They'll have some dollars for an inexpensive motel room while they try to gather their belongings and start rebuilding their lives. Liz hopes she can land a certain job with the government in January that she's been trying to get. She just wants to work and provide for Katy. At 2:00 p.m. she wrote this to me:

I can't believe how many counts are on Katy's blog, this is a miracle. I keep crying, but these are tears of joy. All these months and nights that we have cried out to the Lord and I have prayed why have we been forgotten. I have wondered if we had been cursed for some reason. When we say grace before we eat I pray God Help Us. I did a needlepoint a couple of months ago and wrote "God Help Us" on it. I didn't want my faith to falter. I wanted it to stay strong and show my daughter that God does answer prayers, but it was getting hard. Thank you so much yet again.

To send a check directly, mail to:

Elizabeth Hughes
PO Box 111525
Campbell, CA 95011

To send through my Paypal account, please log into and send to:

[Update 1/2: I was able to open a Paypal account in Liz's name, so I have deleted my account from this post. Check the post for Jan. 2.]

Katy's email address is:

sophiepeaches (@) gmail (dot) com

Katy has just joined Twitter. Follow her here. Read updates of her blog here. She is picking up free wifi when she can. Plus she has to find some place to recharge her computer battery now and then.

Thanks to all of you for caring. And--Happy New Year.

Update: Shortly after posting this (I always post at night for the following day), I learned through Twitter that someone in the San Jose area had met up with Liz and Katy and given them enough money for a motel. No cold car on Tuesday night for them after all, as they wait for more funds to come in!

Update 9:30 a.m.: Just heard through @juliebonnheath on Twitter that NBC called her this morning in response to her emails about this story. They said they would call Katy. Let's see what happens! Also, I received more funds through Paypal. This morning those funds are at $730. I'm hoping for more to come in.

Update 10 a.m.: NBC has now contacted Katy and Liz at their motel room. Let's pray for a story!

Update 10:20 a.m.: NBC has just confirmed they will run a story on Katy and Liz on the local 6:00 news.

Update 11:30 a.m.: The local ABC station has also said it will be running a story on Katy and Liz tonight. I will do what I can to find video links to these stories.

Update 1:30 p.m.: Spoke to local ABC reporter, who was with Liz and Katy at the time. Looks like both ABC and NBC stories are a go.

Update: 3:30 p.m.: I'm leaving to drive to see Katy and Liz. (I've been without a car for the past two days--just got it back.) I'm taking them $946 in Paypal donations. They received $300 in checks in their P.O. Box today, and that's already in the bank.


JBarWriter said...

You are a blessing and it is good to know they didn't sleep in the car last night and I want to thank the kind soul in San Jose for this...

Marcie said...

All I can say is "Wow!" and "Praise the Lord!" :-)

Deena said...

THIS is why I do what I do! Praise God for your novels and the relationship they built with this precious pair of ladies! I was just getting ready to blog this when I caught your updates...way cool, GOD!!

Karen said...

This is an awesome way to end 2008...people helping people! That's what it's all about! Thanks Brandilyn and to all who have helped bring this story of these two precious sisters in the Lord to our attention.

Karen said...

This is an awesome way to end 2008...people helping people! That's what it's all about! Thanks Brandilyn and to all who have helped bring this story of these two precious sisters in the Lord to our attention.

valmg said...

Your recap brought tears to my eyes because it's so good to see that there are people such as yourself that have kind hearts.
You are an angel to have tried to help them in their time of need.
The world needs more people like you and all of the other people you've inspired to offer help, money and prayers for those two.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

God bless you Brandilyn! This is what the Christmas season is truly about! You brought me to tears :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting updates. I love watching community in action.

If you are able to post a link to the news broadcast, that would be awesome. Not sure what specific NBC station it is that is carrying the story?

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

This will be local news. I will post updates and see about posting a link to the story. Keep watching this post for updates, and also Twitter. Blessings, all!

shelburns said...

This is wonderful! Bless you and all who have stepped up to help. It is great to see how the Lord works.

Dineen A. Miller said...

This is the body of Christ in action! How cool is that?!?!?!

Shirley said...

Here is the news story...

Nicely done Brandilyn! WooHOO!! Thanks for letting us be a part of this.