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Community helps family displaced by typhoon

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Earlier this month KUAM News brought you the story of a family home that had been destroyed not once - but twice - with the latest incident resulting from Typhoon Dolphin. But it turns out this tragic story had a heartwarming twist, as the family's livelihood was forever touched by a simple yet unexpected package in the mail.

The walls are lined with plants and family pets run through the yard of the house Yigo resident Mary Lou has tried to make a home. She was one of hundreds whose homes had been destroyed following the destructive winds of Typhoon Dolphin this past May. But unlike many others, Mary Lou's home had actually been destroyed twice, as it was previously burned down during a burglary the year before.

Along with hundreds of other families, Mary Lou registered at the Yigo Mayor's Office, where her information was forwarded to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. While Guam was declared a state of disaster by the federal government, Guam's second appeal to FEMA for individual assistance for the hundreds displaced by the storm was again denied earlier this week.

Although Guam was denied individual assistance for the second time, members of the community are stepping up to help those in need. In fact, Mary Lou experienced this first-hand, when her daughter-in-law Katt hand-delivered a letter she will never forget.

"She took out a letter and a Home Depot card that's worth $100, so I asked her I said, 'Where did this come from?' And she said - 'a friend of mine,'" recalled Mary Lou. The sender had seen Mary Lou's story on KUAM's Facebook page earlier this month, and reached out to Katt to help the family rebuild their home.

The letter says, "Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all he has done."

Mary Lou said she was simply, "Shocked, and like I said, overwhelmed. When I was presented this gift card, I didn't even know what to say. My kids wanted me to read the letter, so I read it, and as I read each word, it's like I was choking as I was reading. This person that I've never met, never spoken to donated this gift to me and my family, and I would like to extend my sincere and heartfelt thanks to her and her husband."

Mary Lou said she wasn't expecting anything, but has been overwhelmed by the support she's received by the community. "I thank all of you guys - I've never met any of you guys before, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart," she said, gratefully.

The sender, who wishes to remain anonymous, plans to meet with the family and possibly do more to help them rebuild in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the Government of Guam continues to help families find emergency housing through the Guam Housing Corporation, and find temporary jobs through the Department of Labor.

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