On December 16th 1980, Debbie and her children returned home from celebrating her husband’s birthday to find their house in ashes. Through a haze of black smoke and police sirens came a dreadful realization; they had no insurance, everything was lost.
With 9 days until Christmas, the Rice family owned nothing except the clothes on their backs. Debbie didn’t have a single present for her children, or even a suit so that her husband could continue his job as a pastor. Only through the kindness of their neighbors were they able to survive through this terrible hardship.
Family friends gave food, donated suits, and even took presents from underneath their own trees until the Rice’s were able to get back on their feet. After receiving such overwhelming support, Debbie was inspired to pay it forward by helping others. As soon as she had more than the bare minimum, Debbie began giving back to the community.