POSTED: Sunday, December 22, 2013 - 8:07pm
UPDATED: Monday, December 23, 2013 - 8:50am
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Two families in need got an early surprise from some of Santa's helpers tonight. A Baton Rouge substance abuse center presented them with an early Christmas gift to help them get back on their feet.
Ethel Beverly's tears are tears of triumph and of gratitude because she knows how it feels to lose everything.
"All I can say is thank God because if it wasn't for Him, we wouldn't be here now," Ethel said. "When I opened my bedroom door, all I could see and smell was a whole bunch of smoke, smoke up and down the hall."
Earlier this year, her house got destroyed by a fire. At 83 years old, she was able to get her grandchildren out to safety.
"I grabbed both of them and I walked out on the front porch, and I saw a truck coming along and I started screaming, and I said 'Please stop. please stop, please stop!," Ethel exclaimed. "It just about destroyed everything in the house, but thank God we're alive. Thank God I was there to save my little grandchildren."
Lacey Trumble also knows how it feels to start over. Lacey recently got out of jail.
"I was up in there, and I lost everything," Lacey said.
Now, she's got a fresh start and is raising her five kids on her own. Lacey and Ethel's trials and tribulations aren't being overlooked. Residents at Cenikor, a substance abuse treatment center, want to give back to them this holiday season.
"We try to teach our residents to give back to the community, which is something they forgot how to do in our addiction, and it's just the right thing to do. It feels wonderful to be able to help out this family," Reba Casebolt, clinical manager at Cenikor, said.
"I am just so thrilled I don't know what to do with myself. God bless all of them," Ethel said. "Everybody who came along and gave us a hand."
"It made me feel special, like the Lord is really answering my prayers," Lacey said.
Ethel and Lacey got Wal-mart gift cards for $2,000 to help get them back on their feet. Cenikor does this effort every year and plans on keeping up the tradition for years to come.