DES MOINES, Iowa — "Thankful" is the word a grandmother uses to describe the outpouring of help her family has received from the community.
Regina Nyanzira, is the grandmother of five kids who recently lost both parents only four months apart. Their dad died on New Year's Eve and their mom died in August after giving birth.
The five kids are now parentless and living with Nyanzira and her husband, who are both sick.
Nyanzira said the support from strangers after hearing what her family is going through is something she didn't expect, but is glad to receive. A GoFundMe for the family now has raised more than $330,000.
"My heart is filled with joy to see how the community has been surrounding us with the love," Nyanzira said.
And it's love that keeps coming.
On Tuesday, Ken Garff Automotive gave the family a Dodge van along with gifts from multiple employees from the Ken Garff umbrella of dealerships.
Christie Houlahan, the automotive group's regional marketing manager, said the company felt compelled to donate to the family because they knew it would be hard to lose both parents.
The donation came from the dealerships ‘We’re Here for You’ initiative, which aims to give back to local community members in need.
Houlahan said she would do it again just to see the kids' reaction.
"To see those kids, they lit up as soon as we pulled up the vehicle," Houlahan said. "And we set everything up for them so they can have some success and not have something to worry about it."
Pastor Eugene Kiruhura, who started the GoFundMe, said the family is starting to weigh options for homes that are large enough and affordable.
He also said he and the grandparents are working to make sure the kids can legally live with them.
"We have an appointment with an attorney this week," Kiruhura said. "We are looking to see how they can get temporary legal guardianship that's what we are working for."
Although Nyanzira noted this has been a sad time, she said she and the kids have gained intended family and it's all because of God.
Kiruhura said if anyone wants to donate to the family outside of the GoFundMe, they can call him at 515-525-7801 or send a check or cash to 7605 NW Aurora Ave., Urbandale, IA 50322.
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