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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soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. FRED

    TV, Xbox, dog, nice furniture. Poverty sure has changed.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LK2

    Geez Louise! To those who's criticizing these people for having a PET and a few DVD's! Don't they deserve SOME happiness? Like someone mentioned, even homeless people have pets, but yet they manage to care for them. It CAN be done! And like someone else pointed out as well, that pets are extremely helpful to people with special needs. That's been PROVEN! So how do you know this dog wasn't donated for that purpose? But instead you slam, bam this family who's struggling for having a dog and DVD's? Come on! And the person who helped who had less than $50,000? I'm betting he would have done if if he only at $50.00! He just wanted to help More than I can say for some of you who would rather condemn them instead of being happy for them!

    September 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Adam

    That's a sweet deal. I'd like some free money too.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bethany

    "Thank You Father God" Thank you for taking care of your people. You are always on time,continue blessing this family and the ones who gave to this family. Thank you LORD JESUS for watching over all those who left a comment. All glory to you. IN YOUR SON JESUS NAME AMEN*******

    September 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • totallytrue


      September 23, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Wendy Stevens

    All you people who are so bitter because this woman owns a few things. Jeez, you have no aide how long she has had that TV. Have you ever had an autistic child? Have you ever lost your job? This is so indicative of the cruelty in this country. How did we come to this? Are you that small that you don't want this woman to have her tv, and her dog? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    September 23, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ElisabethinCA

    Ok Fred, so Maria and her husband both had good jobs and purchased those things, that nice furniture, that Xbox etc, and now that they lost their jobs they should give everything away (and they already sold most everything including their wedding rings) and get horrible furniture and have an empty house? Why are you so ugly? How do you know someone didn't let them borrow the Xbox?
    I owned a law office with my father. A year ago this week he collapsed and died. I was ill myself at the time and still am with no end in sight. Because of my illness I was not able to save our business. Which by the way we did mostly pro bono Elder Law. And when we did charge, it was 1/3 of what others charged. And it was a flat rate never by the hour. So cut to here and now. I am still ill, have sold a lot of my things. My best friend is buying my pet food, and bringing me what food for me she can. I have a 52" Plasma and new furniture. I had a lot of other nice things which I bought cash, never ran up credit, and could afford when I had my business. So now that I am literally below the poverty level should I not have the TV and furniture that I bought with the money I earned? And trust me, if I could sell my TV for more than the few hundred dollars people want to pay for it I would so I could buy food. I can't drive my car because I had to let the insurance and registration go. But I have a nice car and thank goodness it's paid off. So because I am in such bad shape now my items in my home should automatically look shabby? Just because I have my TV and furniture and not much else left that I haven't sold I am not poor? Whatever compelled you to leave such a nasty insensitive comment is beyond me. You and people like you are the ones that make this country seem like it is full of ugly hateful people that care about no one but themselves. Thank goodness the reality is that there are a lot of good people in this country. Oh and by the way Fred..I still have my Xbox too; I sold my other game consoles. I will live in my car with my Xbox if I have to. It is the one thing I have left that I like to do when I have the energy. I can't read anymore, I have no TV anymore. So I will keep my Xbox but I am still poor.
    I at least feel good knowing that though I never have been in this position before, and never in a million years thought I would since I spent so much time in school and worked so hard my whole life, that when I was doing well, never over the top either, just regular middle class, that I took a lot of what I made and turned around and gave to others. And dedicating our law office to the Elderly and helping those who needed help and being able to provide them with free or very low cost services was something I will always be proud of. If I can ever get well and shake this illness once and for all, I will go back and rebuild what I built with my father. And give away even more. Even if it means I don't have a huge savings account. I would rather have done what I did and be in this position, then take as much as I could from others and still have money in the bank.
    And for the Azzbag that said Maria was hiding because she was an illegal? STFU and get a life.

    September 23, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. walkamileintheirshoes

    Isn't it easy to sit back and criticize what you do not understand? I am Female – age 45 – 2 years ago I lost what took 20 years of hard work to build up. 401K – 2 houses – 2 cars – a motorcycle – had money to save and money to spend – I had health insurance and I worked 50 hours a week. Life was good, bills were paid and credit rating was high. Due to company layoffs in Oct of 08 – I found myself without a job, without a paycheck, & only time on my hands to watch what I had worked so hard for dwindle like dust. Could not find a job! and I'm great at what I do – I was a corporate new product development and supply chain project manager. I had not been without a job in 25 years. I ended up working for tips in a bar so I could eat. I sold my belongings, House didn't sell in 12 months, so the bank took it back – I'd been there 14 years. I had a second home close to my family – I moved to it -Fought for a year to see if I could keep it! I found 2 part time jobs in this rural southern county – 2 years ago $85,000 annually plus 15% annual bonus payouts – now – barely $17,000 annually and on food stamps. HOWEVER I will survive and regain – ; One of my part time jobs I do the books and work for a non-profit organization in this county that provides Free Food and Clothing to those in need. I don't mean in need of a new laptop – I mean people that have lost jobs that didn't pay squat in the first place – business folded & to get a job making even $8.00 an hour they have to drive 50 miles one way daily . How feasible is that? These folks can't feed there kids on unemployment (if they get any). I hear people say to me, "I never thought I would have to ask someone for food" -I understand their need. My point is that I have an understanding of what having & then not having is like. Don't be so quick to criticize what you do not understand. Tomorrow the only warmth you might have is your pet snuggled up next to you on a cold floor! ! Unless the bank takes your house. The unemployment rate in this county in rural Tn is 16.7% – Having said that....I have seen the needy cry for help but I also see giving people step up with generosity- It's the only way out – lend a helping hand cause you never know when you'll need one yourself. The have's and the have not's are a growing melting pot.

    September 23, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. inshortsupply

    I find it truly amazing that some people can look at a photo and think they know everything about a person. This kind of ability should be harnessed in some way. Just think of all the stories that wouldn't have to be told by a reporter who actually took the time to talk with the person and hear their story first-hand. You could make millions. I agree with LK2, I think the person who helped would have done what he could with whatever he had. I am by no means wealthy, but I make a point to give what I can each month. Sometimes if I save throughout the month I can give to more than one charity. I also give of my time, which in some cases is more important than money. As for the dog...really, you are going to begrudge someone a pet because they are living below the poverty line? Unlike the others, I hope someone IS there to help you out when you need a hand. Maybe then you will see that not all photos are worth a thousand words, sometimes they may only need one—human.

    September 23, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brickell Princess

    The United States is a country riddled with poverty but filled with MANY good hearts. A lot of kind people that no matter what always shine brighter than the dark ones. This country might drive me insane some times, but it is the American spirit that restores my faith in this nation and its people.

    September 23, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GES

    Life is like a potluck. Bring enough for your own family and one more. The person who helped Maria understood that. If all that are able to contribute a bit, there just might be enough to go around.

    September 23, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • dcw

      This is a philosophy I can get behind.

      September 23, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CatfishMammy

    She a white trash dumster diver who prolly doin some hookin 4 dat $$$ he done gived her!

    September 23, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. makes21kayear

    To all those who say $21k a year should be enough to support a family, have you tried this? Do you actually have a family of four and spend every little penny on food or whatever else you need? Or are you sitting in your mother's basement clicking away on that computer of yours? $21k a year is NOT enough for a family of four. You apparently aren't taking in consideration day care costs (which by the way is over $150 a WEEK per child under 1 years old in Texas), food, electricity, etc. I work my ass off for $10 an hour to just put my kids in daycare so I can go to work everyday, so I can feed them, keep them sheltered and clean. Not every "poor" person makes bad decisions about what they truly need or want. I think electricity and food rank high on the "need" list. Internet is a "need" for me because I do online classes trying to advance myself in hopes of a better career. So don't group all the "poor" together in your furry, we don't all abuse the system. Some of us are truly scraping by while the government thinks of more ways to take our hard earned money.

    September 23, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike Rene

    Hey listen, if some of you think that president Obama hasn't done enough to please all of those have been in need, is correct bcause he'll never being able to do that in such a short time, specially in the situation this this Country has been from president Bush. Even tough that I am waiting for him to act on the immigration's poblem
    Mike Rene

    September 23, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. kim

    For those who are complaining then why aren't you doing some random act of kindness maybe you might actually feel better about life. We all should do it and just maybe the country would be for the better

    September 23, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kat

    21k is not enough to live on and seriously people they have DVDs ....I have about fifty kids DVDs because we can't afford cable or anything else and my kids switch off movies with family so they have something to watch sometimes. We never got help from the government(outside of wic and medical while I was pregnant). My husband worked to put me thru college which I had to quit so I could work full time to pay the bills. Then my husband got hurt and is now on workmans comp...which pays much much less than working does. He was making around 1200 a pay period and is now making 600. Now you tell me how you can live off of 1200 a month. So just so you are aware even living as frugally as we can we are still hurting a lot. If you can't find compassion for someone who is poor or having a hard time you must not have any idea what it means to walk in their shoes. God bless those who helped them and maybe you could be as lucky if you ever need help.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
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