KING 5 viewers 'making a difference' to homeless teen



Posted on July 5, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 5 at 6:07 PM

It’s moving day for Kaitlyn Toomey and her mom Candace - a day that, at times, seemed like an impossible dream.

“It’s just this really happening?” said a somewhat bewildered Kaitlyn.

Just a few weeks ago, Kaitlyn and Candace were living in their van, as they’ve done on and off for the past five years.  All the while, Kaitlyn volunteered countless hours in her community, doing everything from working at a Mount Vernon soup kitchen to collecting toys for victims of childhood trauma. Now, her generosity is being repaid.

KING 5 first told the family’s story back in April in a “Making a Difference” segment featuring Kaitlyn’s selfless dedication to doing good deeds, despite her difficult situation. Within minutes of the story airing, dozens of emails started flooding in from people wanting to help. One person gave them a new van. Others gave cash and gift cards, and some actually ended up paying the family’s rent for a full year.

“I sat and cried,” said Candace. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Mom and daughter now live in a three-bedroom trailer, rent pre-paid by anonymous donors whom Candace has never even met.

“I’d like to give them a big hug to say thank you,” she said. “It’s just overwhelming.”

The outpouring of support has been so overwhelming that Kaitlyn couldn’t even spend this past week in her new home. That’s because she was off at horse camp, another gift from a complete stranger. Amidst all of the generosity the one thing that touches Kaitlyn the most is a care package sent by a bunch of kids from a Gig Harbor middle school. There were gifts and cards with notes of thanks and encouragement. Kaitlyn said it was perfectly timed, arriving when she was having a particularly hard day.
“They made me almost cry,” she said.

Candace is still trying to find a job. She hopes to find some sort of office work soon. Kaitlyn, now 16, is enjoying her summer and is still volunteering at the soup kitchen.

It would be wrong to say all this has restored the family’s faith in people, because they never lost it.
“I always knew things would work out for us,” said Kaitlyn.

But her mom says it is nice to be reassured once in a while.

“There are nice people still in the world. And we really appreciate them,” she said.