Joshua Tree Community Helps Family in Need

Joshua Tree Community Helps Family in Need

Martín Di Felice

Joshua Tree, CA

Jackie Klear and other members of the Joshua Tree community have been spending many hours inside a fixer upper.

"We pulled together, we’re doing this and I mean the house is almost there, so paint tonight flooring the next day" says Jackie.

They’re fixing it up for a family many came to know through these images and a press release by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department saying they arrested Daniel Panico and Mona Kirk for child abuse after they came across their property and found their three children living inside this makeshift shelter surrounded by trash, without running water and electricity. The couple was released from jail, but is still facing trial and can’t see their children. All along neighbors and friends have said the parents are good people.

"They’re very giving, very loving, they’re the type of people that would give their shirt off their back for you, even in the current situation that they’re in," says Jackie.

And like many working poor, Jackie says no one knew they were living in a bad situation, "You would never know their situation just by looking at this family."

She also says they did have a large water tank and generator, but the family lived in the trailer, until recently one of the children made the box and kept adding on and the children liked it. And while they couldn’t afford to give their children the comforts most can.

"They have the bare necessities, and honestly nothing more," says Jackie.

But they did give their children what really matters.

"The children are beautifully raised and they treat everybody the way the parents taught them which is with lots of love and respect," says friend Marsha Custodio, who has been supportive of the family and helping fix up the home.

Still they and the community were moved into action after they saw how rough they had it. Their long time friend Jackie set up a GoFundMe account. 

She says she was stunned to see how much it’s grown, "I cried when we hit 700 I didn’t think it was going to take off like it did."

Marsha says most of it raised by people giving what they could, "They’re the ones who did it and we are so grateful and it’s everyday people like us who can make a difference."

The best part the chain of love is going to keep growing because they’re not stopping there. They say this was a wake up call for the community and they vow to help other families in need.