Secret Santa: Volunteers Help East Bay Family Who Lost Everything in Apartment Fire - NBC Bay Area
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Secret Santa: Volunteers Help East Bay Family Who Lost Everything in Apartment Fire

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    An East Bay family that lost everything in an apartment fire earlier this year will have a Christmas they will not forget. Jodi Hernandez reports. (Published Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016)

    An East Bay family that lost everything in an apartment fire earlier this year will have a Christmas they will not forget.

    Volunteers on Thursday spent the day setting up a new home for Shaquala Tolefree and her 10-year-old son, Nadir.

    "I can't bring back all she lost, but I can definitely try to bring some smiles and joy to her heart for Christmas," said Edna Campbell, one of the volunteers.

    Campbell heard about the family's troubles and organized a collection drive. An army of workers, including students from Oakland's School of the Arts, responded to the call to help the mother and son get back on their feet.

    "I feel they need to be loved, especially since they just moved into this apartment two days ago," said Aaliyah Washington, a volunteer and Oakland School of the Arts student. "They have nothing."

    The only furniture at the apartment early Thursday was an air mattress.

    When Tolefree and Nadir got home from late Thursday they could not believe their eyes. Their home was fully furnished.

    "Beyond surprised, beyond it," Tolefree said. "I don't know what to say. I'm shocked."

    Nadir's birthday is on Sunday, Christmas Day. And thanks to the volunteers he and his mother have all they need and a holiday housewarming they will not forget.

    "I'm just happy, she's happy," Campbell said. "And to see her son happy it makes me happy."

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