VICTORVILLE, Calif. - In a cramped Victorville motel room, Rita Zadsden manages to keep her seven grandchildren entertained. Her adult son RJ has autism and is recovering from severe burns after saving the family from a house fire that happened two months ago.
The Oct. 2023 house fire happened in Birmingham, Alabama, where Zadsden was taking care of the family with her husband – until he died from COVID-19 complications. The fire destroyed the family’s home, prompting Rita to move the family to Victorville where she has a relative in the area.
After realizing the Victorville relative’s home isn’t big enough to house everyone, Zadsden is now at a motel and in danger of being homeless.
That’s when the local community group "Victorville Community Helping Hands" stepped in.
"Ms. Rita" and her family is in need of a home for the holidays as their motel voucher is just hours from expiring December 18. PHOTO: GoFundMe
"We managed to get the county to help out with a voucher and get them a hotel room," said group organizer Jeannette Mejia.
With donations, she has been able to get the family food, clothing and even some Christmas gifts for the kids. However, the county-backed housing voucher is about to run out and they can’t find a shelter that will keep grandma, the grandchildren and her adult son together.
"We have to stay together, and get through this together," Zadsden said, fighting back tears. "We just need a safe place to stay for a while."
"We need a Christmas angel," Mejia said.
Mejia adds the family can’t afford the model and the voucher runs out Tuesday at checkout time.