STUART, Fla. — Madeline Bozone, the executive director of Family Promise Martin County, said the news came on a Friday, making an exciting end to the week.
"We are going to gift you $50,000," she read from the email from a donor.
Family Promise Martin County, a small nonprofit that keeps families who fell on hard times together, was falling on hard times themselves.
"Everything keeps bringing tears of joy to my eyes," she said. "We need it so badly, because we were struggling so badly. We opened during COVID. We've got so many families that need us."
The network of congregations provides food, a safe place to sleep and transportation. Bozone said the need is growing in a pandemic, with nearly 520 children in Martin County registered as homeless or in unstable housing.
"It is a struggle, because you can't do fundraisers because of COVID," she said.
WPTV NewsChannel 5 first reported on an anonymous donor who gifted them their $5,000 stimulus check, but the nonprofit never expected that an act of kindness and the interview that followed would lead to funds to stay afloat.
"WPTV came in to interview us and that went out there, and we had someone that brought us $2,500 and then we got a phone call," Bozone said. "I asked, 'How did you hear about us?' They said, 'Oh, we saw a news piece on you that WPTV had done.'"
The families under the care of Family Promise are housed in churches across Martin County. Bozone said the $50,000 donation will help with housing, but also everyday needs.
"A huge world of difference," April Young, case manager director for Family Promise, said. "I mean, there is times they have a flat tire, things you don't think about, where I can just go to my bank account today or ask my husband for help."
Family Promise said the $50,000 check is hope during a hopeless season.
"You start to kind of have doubt. Are we supposed to be here?" explained Bozone, who said the donation is "prayers answered."
But now, they are paying it forward.
"It just means so much that someone said to us, 'We know you are a smaller nonprofit and we know how much you need it,'" Bozone said.