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Community helps Portland family after fire leaves them homeless

“I’m just really grateful for everybody’s help,” Jessica Aleman Medina said. “I didn’t think anybody was going to help us."
Posted at 6:30 PM, Dec 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-22 07:53:32-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — “It just happened really fast,” Jessica Aleman Medina said.

On Saturday, Medina said she was taking an afternoon nap with her kids.

“I just heard screaming so I got up,” she said. “I opened the door and the shed is on fire.”

Medina grabbed the four children and ran outside of their mobile home in Portland.

“It was big,” Medina added. “I already knew it was going to catch the trailer. It was too big.”

Her family and pets were safe, but her oldest son’s room was destroyed.

“I can’t afford to fix it,” she said. “There’s just no way.”

She was able to stay the night at her sister’s house, but the fire marshal told her to call the Red Cross.

“We were able to get a hotel,” she said.

Her kids, three of which go to school at Stephen F. Austin Elementary, returned to school Monday.

“I think because we’re so united at our campus, they knew they were in a safe place,” Tycee Sanchez, the SFA assistant principal said.

Sanchez said they contacted Gregory Portland Independent School District social workers who got the family in touch with several area charities.

“We’ve sent messages out to the staff about what the family needs,” Brenda Brinkman, the SFA principal said.

After losing many of her family’s belongings, Medina posted on different Facebook pages asking for help for the holidays.

“That’s when everybody struggles and they’re still helping us,” Medina said.

She said she was overwhelmed by the response.

Since posting she’s had people offer money, furniture, food, and even presents for her kids.

“I’m just really grateful for everybody’s help,” Melina said. “I didn’t think anybody was going to help us, so we were able to put the deposit down and the rent.”

On Wednesday, she moved her family into an apartment.

Their new home is already filled with donations from churches and the Gregory Portland community.

“I’m so grateful,” Medina said. “I’m definitely going to pay it forward when I get back on my feet.”

Medina is a substitute teacher at GPISD.

The single mom made sure to put decorations up too.

“I just wanted to show we’re going to have a home for Christmas,” Medina said.