A man was caught on camera breaking into a Hebron home and stealing what the homeowner said was Christmas present and jewelry, including presents for a family in need that she was supporting this holiday season.
“They know it’s little kids that are going to be affected by that . Where is the morality of people that can do that,” said homeowner Maria KcKeon.
But in true Christmas spirit, the community has stepped up in force.
After the burglary, a neighbor, whom McKeon had never met, reached out to Something Simple Café in Hebron asking if the popular spot could help. Owner Jessica Dapsis emailed McKeon, who told her about the family she’s assisting.
“It really just touched me and she asked if donations could go to them instead,” Dapsis said.
Dapsis put a post on the on the Something Simple Café Facebook page on Dec. 12 and the response was extraordinary. Donations flooded a bin set up inside the café, nearby tables and the floor.
“Within about four days, it was overflowing. Maria came and picked up the first (batch of donations) and within two more days, I had to call her (to come again). We had one person come in with—it was probably like 10 bags of wrapped presents labeled for the kids. It was unbelievable,” Dapsis said.
Dapsis said she’s been offering free coffee or hot coca to people who donate. Many don’t even accept it.
“Hebron really is just one of those communities that when something happens, people step up and really try and support each other,” she said.
People have also been coming into the café from out of town to donate.
A manager at Savers in Manchester told NBC Connecticut the store has extended an offer to help clothe the family.
Besides Christmas presents, donations also included gently used clothes—like winter coats—a car seat and more than $1,000 in gift cards and cash to help with expenses like utility bills, according to McKeon.
She’s also raised more than $1,100 on Facebook from people all across the country.
“The family is overwhelmed because the kids have never really had a Christmas before,” McKeon said. “She didn’t even have stockings, she didn’t even have wrapping paper!”
New donations Wednesday revealed Christmas wreaths and a small tree.
McKeon said the family is a mom, a 10-year-old boy, and girls ages five, three and a newborn. The mom was just diagnosed with a serious heart condition.
Tom Reiley, of Glastonbury, pulled $10 out of his pocked to help at Something Simple Café Wednesday before even hearing the full story.
“There’s some real Grinches out there and despicable people that actually give the Grinch a good name,” Reiley said.