Grants Pass, Ore. –It’s a happy ending for a Grants Pass family after they were given a van donated by the community. Residents hope the donation will help the mother get her kids to school on time.
It all began last week after pictures of six-year-old Hunter Cmelo eating his lunch behind a cardboard partition in the school’s cafeteria went viral. The Lincoln Elementary student was forced to sit there for being late, something his family said is because of his mother’s poor health and unreliable vehicle.
“We’re just a working class family doing the best we can with what we got. Sometimes people fall on hard times,” Hunter’s dad Marc Cmelo said.
The photographs caught the attention of people across the nation and residents in the Rogue Valley were quick to act.
The family showed up at Kelly’s Automotive Service Tuesday night expecting to hear that their current vehicle wasn’t worth fixing. But instead they were given the keys to a van.
“I’m just blown away to see the community come together like this and that there are still good people and people really care,” Cmelo said.
The idea was given life by multiple people in the community including Kelly’s Automotive Service and Rapid Repo and Collections.
“We did 1,300 dollars worth of work on it to get it up and going so it’s going to be a safe and reliable vehicle to them,” Kelly’s Automotive Service Co-owner Lisa McClease-Kelly said.
A labor of love from the small Southern Oregon community. McClease-Kelly also said residents from across the valley donated enough money to pay for a years worth of oil changes and give the family a $100 gas card.