News-Sun readers come to family’s rescue
By Judy Masterson firstname.lastname@example.org November 28, 2012 8:04PM
Elizabeth Hoye (left), 16, Derricka Benjamin, 5, Terenza Foster, 22, Xavier Glass, 11, and Artaysha Jones, 18, the family of four sisters and one brother have been facing tragedy for the past few years and are now homeless and destitute. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Contact Terenza Foster at (224) 214-9547.
Updated: January 28, 2013 1:59AM
NORTH CHICAGO — The future is a little less daunting for a young woman who is trying to make a home for her four younger siblings.
A Thanksgiving Day story about Terenza Foster, 22, and her determination to keep her family together after the death of her mother and grandparents, struck a chord with several Lake County News-Sun readers, who opened their wallets to help.
“But she still needs help,” said one donor, who prefers to remain anonymous.
The donor, who met with Foster and a younger sister, said she was impressed with their positive attitude and work ethic. Foster and her sister, Artaysha, 18, recently found jobs as telemarketers at a firm in Buffalo Grove.
“I always give money to charities at Christmas,” the donor said. “But something about their story touched me. I thought ‘Here is somebody in your own community. Give her the money.’ ”
Foster received contributions that will help her pay the first month’s rent and security deposit on an apartment in North Chicago where she hopes to move with sisters who also include Elizabeth, 16, Derricka, 5, and brother Xavier, 11.
“I’m really appreciative,” said an emotional Foster, who nursed her mother through lung cancer and her grandmother through a stroke, before their deaths. “It’s been a constant struggle. But it’s wonderful to realize there are still good people out there. Especially the way the economy is, you might think people wouldn’t have anything to give.”
But there are still worries. The children need hygiene items, beds, blankets, towels. The apartment needs curtains, cleaning supplies, a clothes dryer, a microwave. The family also needs enough food to get through the first week in December, after which the first paychecks will arrive. The apartment is in a crime-prone neighborhood and Foster worries for the safety of her siblings, especially her brother, who won’t be able to go outside as freely as he would like.
And what about Christmas? “We haven’t even thought about it,” Foster said. “I’ll try to pull something together.”
Foster could be receiving more good news. Columbia College of Missouri, where she was attending online, said it will work with her to settle an unpaid fee that has prevented her from re-enrolling.
“We have a lot of adult students and we understands sometimes life gets complicated,” said Brandi Herrman, a spokesman for the school, which has a location in Gurnee. “We have processes in place to make sure we can help our students.”
“Things are looking brighter,” Foster said. “I’m just taking one day at a time. And I’m staying prayed-up.”