September 23rd, 2010
12:40 PM ET

Family in poverty moved by generosity from an 'angel'

"Maria, " who was too embarrassed to give her true name, sits with one of her sons as she finds herself living below the poverty threshold.

There has been an outpouring of support and offers of help from CNN Radio listeners and readers for “Maria” and her family. Maria’s story was profiled last week after the release of the U.S Census Bureau’s Poverty Report.

“Maria,” too embarrassed to give us her real name, tells us what has happened since her story was told, what help she has received and how it has renewed her faith in humankind, and energized her in moving forward finding a job and getting back on her feet.

One man in particular took “Maria” and her sons shopping for necessities.

“I am still trying to figure out if this person is real or an angel from God,” said “Maria."

The person who helped Maria is not rich. He has less than $50,000 in the bank but said he was simply moved to help.

Maria has two sons, the younger one suffers from Autism. CNN’s Jim Roope caught up with Maria following her encounter with the person she calls an “angel." The tears and the despair we heard in the original story has been replaced with smiles and hope.

Hear the update here:

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Filed under: Economy
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. Valerie

    "Modest Needs Foundation".....check it out VERY favorite place to give.....small change makes BIG change in so many deserving people's lives...I highly recommend to amyone looking to give, even if they only have 5 dollars to offer! God Bless us all, as we continue to bless each other with our love, compassion, and kindness!

    September 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      God bless the man who helped! Most people I know, including my own family, live paycheck to paycheck. We have no savings at all. We try to get ahead but there is always something (the car breaks down, unexpected bills, clothes to get for school, house needs necessary repair, etc.)

      September 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • ksssss

      I will check the site out...thanks for the info. Life is tough for most of us, we need to help one another and that includes these big companies that do nothing but take. If we fail then they fail.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    So, she needed to get handouts to "energized her in moving forward finding a job?"

    September 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      You obviously have never been unemployed so long that you lose hope. A lot of unemployed people become seriously depressed (and would you blame them) especially if they were job hunting for a very long time but getting no where.

      September 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • John


      Oh I have been, I've even been out of work for several years due to a severe back injury and then went out to get job (try finding a job when you haven't worked for years due to a severe work related injury, it's gangs of fun) and despite getting depressed at time I forced myself to keep motivated and keep looking since sitting at home sulking wasn't going to solve anything.

      When your out of work not having cash in your pocket should be enough to motivate you, yes there will be depression but get over it and get on with your life or let it rule you and sit accomplishing nothing.

      September 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay10

      If you were that motivated, why were you out of work for so long then?

      September 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • hannah01

      Kay10 to John: Good point on asking why he was out so long. I personally think was just trying to "milk the Workmen's Compensation system" for all he could get.
      What was that ,John? I sould very judgemental??? I rest my case....

      September 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • hannah01

      I made a spelling error...I meant to state "I sound very judgmental?" (Don't want John to judge me on my spelling!)

      September 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • God

      I have to wonder how John p[aid his rent, electric bill, put food on the table, etc. while he was out of work. I can tell you why: because his mother gave him a roof and cooked his meals, while he convalesced in his command center...I mean, his mom's basement.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • B-Dog

      I see some people that need to learn better reading comprehension, instead of asking why he was out of work for so long.

      "I've even been out of work for several years due to a severe back injury" <- There ya go.

      September 23, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • B-Dog


      Sweetheart, you have more to worry about than spelling mistakes. I think you should concentrate on your grammar and punctuation skills instead of talking s*** to John.

      Your post:

      Kay10 to John: Good point on asking why he was out so long. I personally think was just trying to "milk the Workmen's Compensation system" for all he could get.
      What was that ,John? I sould very judgemental??? I rest my case...."
      End post.

      1) "Kay10 to John" WRONG > Should have been "To: Kay10" or "@Kay10" Having "Kay10 to John looks like you want Kay to give John a message for you.

      2) "I personally think was just trying" WRONG > That SHOULD have been "I personally think HE was just trying"

      3) "I personally think was just trying to "milk the Workmen's Compensation system" for all he could get." WRONG WRONG WRONG Jesus Christ did you graduate high school?? You don't need quotes for what you think he milked. It's Workman's with an A, not with an E. You don't need to have a capital W or C in workman's comp.

      4)" What was that ,John? I sould very judgemental??? I rest my case...." WRONG and WRONG. The space goes after the comma, not ,before. The proper spelling is judgmental.

      September 23, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andres Bustamante

    One day i will do the same to help the less fortunate..ive done it in smaller scale and it feels great to do it 🙂

    September 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Len

      Really, if you want to help, it doesn't take money. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter. It may not seem like much, but it means the world to these people.

      September 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. In Awe of it all

    Yes, how dare she have been able to afford dvds or to care for a pet in her past. Or are we assuming that because she is poor now that she must always have been poor? Well, we all know what assuming gets you.....

    September 23, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. anti-Gabbarkudo

    Gabbarkudo, stand down. Seriously.

    Don't be so quick to judge. For all you know, that dog is a service dog and necessary for her autistic son. And I don't even see the DVDs you're scorning, but maybe someone was nice enough to donate them to the kids. This whole article is about generosity, clearly.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sillyness

      Exactly. Thank you. I have seen homeless people on the streets who still have their dogs. Pets can sometimes keep a person from utter despair and give them a reason to keep going. Never underestimate the power of the unconditional love of a pet. Gab – you are being very judgmental. Why can't you just enjoy this story of a family in need and the people that came to their aide without throwing a dark skeptical cloud over it??

      September 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Facundo

      Totally agree, what is she supposed to do? Sell everything little thing she owns, including her children's DVDs and toys??? Her son is AUTISTIC and probably takes some comfort in those things.

      September 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ginny

    they sold their dogs. geez.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ginny

    btw, pets probably brought them empathy and donations, dummies selling them. that picture in the story would have brought out dog lovers.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kw67

    Someone always has to pee in the cornflakes. So she had a dog. Poor people aren't always poor. Maybe she had the dog before? Armchair judges, suck.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tanya

    I'm thankful to God that he put someone in Maria's life to help her in her time of need. May God continue to bless the man that took Maria and her children shopping.

    I pray more for those of you who passed judgement on Maria. I pray you never find your self in a situation where as your unable to put food on the table for you and your kids. But if you do see that day I pray that there will be people out there that will help you without judging the situation you are in.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cissy

      You got right to the heart of it!

      September 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danni

      I agree with tanya. Its good that someone was able to help her but why should she feel ashamed she is not the only one who lost their job. If there were more people like this guy that helped this lady the world would be a better place Dust your self off and find a new one, sometimes its hard but u have to push through and don't pity yourself or have people pity you. There are millions of people who are poor and are happy and blessedto make enough for their family but at the same time they want more but who doesnt. Money isnt everything so once you had money and then you don't easy come easy go its nothing to feel ashamed of. I hate when people get spoiled by money when they don't have it they feel that the world is coming to an end. people should be lucky to have people that care and a job to support a family that is what really matters. Money everyone needs it but it is the root of all evil and sometimes i wish we didn't need it to make a living or to buy things. I guess this is what being american is all about money right?

      September 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Linuxman

    this is how this should be done. people helping people, not the government taking our money to spread it around

    September 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Almond Mom

    The person who helped her was not rich...he had less than $50,000 in the bank. What? We're lucky if we make that all year. Is that a typo?

    September 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Facundo


      September 23, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • smn

      Almond Mom – I thought exactly the same thing. He sounds rich to me. I'm lucky if I have $50 left over from each of my paychecks.
      I'm glad that she could get help, though. Sounds like a good man.

      September 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • AnnBChrist

      He is in many ways Richer than anyone one of you can ever understand.

      September 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • smn

      I understand it perfectly. I just thought it was funny that $50,000 is not considered rich. I wasn't actually talking about his heart or character or bashing him in anyway. I think it's great what he did.

      September 23, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • cornea503

      Maybe he doesn't have his 5 maxed out Visas and Mastercards and has been saving instead of consuming. 50k is hardly rich all it takes is one health scare, one car accident, lost job and poof its gone..I feel sorry for those of you living paycheck to paycheck all the wilst buying latest iThis and iThat gadget, equipping your kids with cell phones, ipods, etc..

      September 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Almond Mom

      We don't have credit cards and I never said we live paycheck to paycheck. You aren't very nice to assume such things. We don't have new cars and we don't have an expensive house. We don't have fancy gadgets and our kids are babies. So we buy them diapers, not cell phones and ipods. All of that said, I think someone with $50K in the bank is rich. Seriously...why do you have to say such rude things? You know what they say when you assume...

      September 23, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Guest

    "Less than $50,000 in the bank" and he's not rich? Sounds like he's doing okay to me.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. findthegoodness

    I'm grateful there are kind people in the world. Those who help those in need, and those who only post positive comments.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. destiny


    September 23, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Professor Moose

      I have pity on people who type in all caps! Unleash thy fury!

      September 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • rs1201

      how about school? her autistic child should be in school getting main streamed with other children. He certainly should not be with her.

      September 24, 2010 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. rtg

    I'm guessing she got the dog before she fell on hard times, and considering she has an autistic son, I would imagine it best to keep the dog because sometimes autistic kids can relate to an animal but are unable to relate to people. Those of you having hissies because she didn't dump her dog the second she hit on hard times are probably the same people having hissies about all the abandoned dogs in this country. I know if I lost my job and I sure wouldn't run and and dump my dogs, they're family. As long as I eat, they'll eat.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • NA


      September 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Facundo

      Wow, I think I love you.

      September 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
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