There are a lot of new of you here so I wanted to update our story so you could know a little more about how this project came about!
My name is Carolina a Escobar. I live in Orlando, Florida. I met Ms. Theresa delivering Meals on Wheels. In the years leading up to today, she has become my Godmother.
We would frequently chat about life and God, reminiscing about her many trips around the world. Germany was her favorite, and although she doesn’t drink now, she would love to remember the taste of her favorite Tukker beer. She used to own a weed-picking business and has her real-estate license that she has renewed every year. Ms. Theresa is vibrant, resilient and fun. She may not have biological children of her own, but she reminds me daily, we are her family; her God daughters, sons, sisters and brothers. She will chat your ear off and fill your heart with joy and positivity by the time you’re done meeting her.
I started this GoFundme me to help restore her home, after receiving a phone call from her in May, very distraught, that the City of Orlando Code Enforcement had shown up threatening to condemn her home.
This is my family and I could not just stand back and let it happen, so I jumped into action and by the grace of God and Ms. Theresa’s unmoving faith, we have been met by so much incredible support.
Unbeknownst to me, and the rest of her God-family, Ms. Theresa was living in conditions that you would never believe. Her spirit reflects nothing but positivity, never once complaining and always giving grace to God for keeping her safe. We never noticed that she wouldn’t allow us in her home for the reason that she did not want us to worry about how she was living.
The day after that call I received from her, I told her she would need to let me go inside. I followed her through a window into her home. She hadn’t slept inside for over 7 years. It was covered in dog feces, rotting furniture, newspaper and mold. There was an obvious rat infestation. She had moved herself outside in her yard, after letting her dogs live inside post-hurricanes and roof damage.
I went back that night with my husband, moved her dogs outside, laid down bug bombs for fleas, fell through the porch flooring, and was truly humbled by the thought that people live like this in our country.
She had been failed by a system she felt she could not trust. Constantly seeing neighbors’ homes being bought out by investors, torn down and replaced with pre-fabricated homes, she feared the City would do the same to her historic Parramore home and never sought out her home insurance for help, albeit being current on her monthly payments.
The weekends that followed, I organized groups of volunteers that helped clear much of the exterior yard waste. The interior was a project too big for us, so we hired a professional biohazard team, American Family Bioclean, who delivered the service at-cost.
We have had stories written about our project in the Orlando Weekly and aired on Spectrum News 13 and News 6. 1st Class Roofing is offering to help with the restoration in order to get a new roof, but we still need a structural engineer and all the help we can get!
So far, we have utilized about $2,000 for biohazard cleanup and supplies.
The remainder of the funds will be used to fix the remaining code violations as well as detrimental needs of the home. These include, but are not limited to:
Exterior and interior paint
Air conditioning unit
Plumbing and electric
Backyard: dog kennels and runs, fencing, dog houses
Ms. Theresa owes about $13,000 on her home and it would be a dream to pay this off for her as well.
Ms. Theresa has asked me to personally pay out professionals. She is not in the state to do it herself, so I have written checks and withdrawn cash where needed and have kept all receipts so she knows exactly how much is going where, on her approval. It is my pleasure to do this for her and it makes me feel safe knowing the funds are being allocated with her best interests in mind.
Thank you all so much again for all your support! Ms. Theresa and all her God-family are forever grateful to you. We could not do this without you :)
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