Sioux Falls, SD
A mother, father and two young boys are starting over, after a devastating fire. They lost their home and almost all of their belongings.
To add to all of those uncertainties, the Sioux Falls family of four also has a new baby on the way. But even with so many things stacked against them, they're filled with hope thanks to an outpouring of support at Robert Frost Elementary School.
Not much is left of what was once home to Vickie Burger's family.
"There's no time, no warning that you really get when something like this happens," Burger said.
On January 16th, after just putting her kids to bed, fire sparked in the garage.
It spread too quickly to stop, so the pregnant mom rushed her two sons Hunter and Ryder Brooks to safety. There was no time to grab shoes, coats, or any belongings.
"It felt like, felt like everything disappeared," Ryder said.
"My boys had to sit there and watch their house burn down and it was devastating to them," Burger said.
Burger says Hunter and Ryder were eager to get back to school after the fire, when they came back two days later they came back to a big surprise.
"They walked in with me the school already had backpacks for them, the school supplies, the kids were welcoming to them," Burger said.
"It was kind of hard coming back to school because I didn't know what it was going to be like," Hunter Brooks said.
It turned out to be better than they could imagine. Classmates wrote cards, collected toys and clothes, and parents called with big donations.
"The kids and the families in this building, I just, it makes your heart smile to think about how generous they are," Fourth Grade Teacher Lori Stverak said.
Stverak was amazed at the outpouring of support. Even the youngest kids wanted to help, and the donations really added up.
"Initially, over $3,000 in cash and checks and 1,000 in gift cards, and we ended up depositing some more later," Stverak said.
It was a widespread act of kindness from the community that Burger never expected, but is more than grateful for.
"It was overwhelming, it definitely helped the whole process and it helped my boys because they've been struggling through the whole thing," Burger said.
Struggles made a little easier knowing so many others care.
Burger says they plan to rebuild their home. They're currently staying in a rental home until they're able to do that.
A fund has been set up for the family Home Federal Bank. If you would like to donate it's under the Brooks- Burger family.
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