Community pulls together to aid a family beset by hard times Christmas Day

PINE LAWN, Mo. – Several organizations came together to perform a random act of community Christmas morning for a Pine Lawn family.

The North County Police Cooperative, Beyond Housing, and other community partners adopted Ebonie Crawford's family for the holiday.

It has been a tough year for Crawford. The single mother of five was involved in a terrible accident last year that totaled her car and nearly took her life

"I made it through," said Crawford. "Just kept praying and didn’t give up.”

Nearly a dozen people walked into Crawford's home with arms full and carrying bags of individually wrapped gifts for the kids: three girls and two boys, ranging in age from three to 16.

“That’s how we bridge the gap with the community and let them know that we truly do care about them, and we’re not just here for our nine to five,” said Capt. Clay Farmer, North County Police Cooperative.

Police officers, community advocates, and even the Mayor of Pine Lawn all looked on as the children ripped through the wrapping paper to unveil their new toys and art supplies. Once all the gifts were opened, the group had one more surprise for Crawford. Farmer told Crawford she would have to come outside to get it.

The two stepped outside the front door, and were met by the rest of the group which had formed a line along the sidewalk in front of the street. Then Farmer handed Crawford a set of keys, and the group parted to reveal the final gift: a Chevrolet Tahoe filled with groceries.

"And she just started crying," said Farmer. "That’s what we want. Tears. Tears of joy.”

Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell said there was an outpouring of support. The group reached people in the community and beyond using social media.

Charlin Hughes with Beyond Housing, a community development organization offering holistic resources and support, said the group's commitment to the Crawford family does not end with the holiday season.

“A lot of times people come around at Christmas and special times and they want to drop things off and that’s it," said Hughes. "We understand that in order to empower people, sometimes the relationships have to be long lasting.”