UPDATE: People take action for Columbia family displaced by floods

Posted at 11:59 PM, Oct 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-09 23:58:57-04

Norfolk, Va. - A family from Columbia, South Carolina is trying to start a new life in Norfolk.

Ashley Pettigrew watched as flood water destroyed roads and homes in her city last week. Worried that her house could be next, she and her fiance packed up their six kids and drove to Norfolk, where her fiance was temporarily living while working the Neptune Festival. The family left so quickly they were only able to grab a few essentials.

"Clothing and diapers that I had available for the youngest children and blankets," explained Pettigrew. "Other than that though, we don't have anything besides our clothes."

Although Pettigrew considers her family lucky for surviving the floods, they are facing a new set of struggles as they try to start over.

"I just want a better life for me and children outside the disaster in Columbia," she said. "I've called numbers after numbers after numbers, but no one has available resources because I'm not from Norfolk."

One day after broadcasting Pettigrew's struggle, people started taking action to help the family of eight.

"We received diapers and wipes and food for the children. It will help us be stable for a few days until we can figure out the next step."

Complete strangers dropped off car loads of food and essentials.

"I am a single father and if it were myself and my children that were displaced, I would want someone to help," said Michael Wilson.

Organizations also took action. A group called Hotel Kids, which specializes in helping homeless families with children, stopped by with clothing, pots, pans and toys.

"We grabbed everything that we could and we came out to help," said Jamie Abbott, founder of Hotel Kids.

While the family still has a long way to go before they are settled, they are beginning to see an end to their struggle.

"I didn't think that we would be able to come out of this," said Pettigrew. "But it's a start and we are very appreciative."

In addition to the supplies dropped off, Pettigrew has been offered a part-time job at a local pizza place.

A Go Fund Me page has also been set up for the family. You can also donate to Hotel Kids in their name.