Friends rally for strangers’ holiday

‘My community of friends outdid everything I could have imagined.’

After witnessing some of the challenges faced by a family in need, April Trost turned to Facebook where she asked friends to remember others during the holiday season.

She described the response as overwhelming.

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A Vandalia resident for nearly 15 years, Trost said after moving to a new home on National Road last spring she watched a family of five walk by together frequently.

“They seemed happy although their days generally consisted of a long journey to get where they needed. Sometimes they would visit the Rite Aid, a local restaurant or catch the bus,” she said.

As the weather turned colder, Trost saw the family — a mother, father, two boys and a girl — walking one evening. She offered them a ride to their destination — a local dollar store — and offered to wait to take them home. That’s when she learned they were staying at a motel.

“After I dropped them off, my heart was hurting,” Trost said.

She turned to Facebook and, due to overwhelming initial response, created a Facebook event for November, asking friends to donate gift cards, clothing, laundry detergent and soap.

“My community of friends outdid everything I could have imagined,” Trost said. She spent part of her weekends going to Huber Heights, Troy, West Milton and other communities to collect donations.

In late November, Trost asked the family to visit VFW Post 9582 hall to be surprised with $310 cash for the motel room, $240 in gift cards along with clothing and other goods to help them get through the winter.

Soon, an invitation arrived from the VFW for the family to attend the post’s children’s Christmas party.

Trost said the story show what can happen when someone isn’t afraid to talk to and help strangers. She referred to the overall project as “April’s band of amazing friends.”

The story, Trost added, isn’t over as people touched by the story and project have taken steps to possibly help the family receive a vehicle.

“I was able to use Facebook to create a public event allowing my friends to invite others to the event. Each day I would update the event with items still needed and thank you posts to those who had contributed,” said Trost, who works for Montgomery County.

Although the project was nerve wracking at times, she’d do it again.

“I know I don’t have to do it alone either. People really stepped up. And at a time like the holidays when most of my friends and family who live paycheck to paycheck are saving to provide everyday needs on top of all that the holidays require. They pulled through,” she said.

“Humans are still amazing, not selfish. You just have to be willing to bare your soul and ask.”

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