HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A heart attack cost Tracy Martin his job. The inability to afford rent cost his family the roof over their head. But the Martin's have not lost faith, especially after an outpouring of support from the community.
It wasn't easy for Tracy to share their struggle about becoming homeless -- especially when he says the worst thing he's done is live paycheck to paycheck -- but he hopes their story has shined a light on some of the people who are living in tents along the street.
"We just want the public to know that homeless people are people too. We're the general public too, not just you guys. We're not animals that you guys can just shoo away. We have a voice too. We have rights. We're people," Tabitha said, her eyes swelling with tears.
The Martin's are overwhelmed by the response their story has gotten from Hawaii News Now viewers.
"I never thought that bringing it out would bring so much good people out too, and that's what we've been running into all day today," Tracy said.
The family has been flooded with donations from strangers.
"The angels brought -- they just stopped, there was literally three four cars lined up at one point -- and they all dropped off food, drinks, blankets, clothes -- all the necessities," Tabitha said.
The Martin's say it's more than they could ever use or need, so they loaded everything up to distribute to the other families they share the sidewalk with.
When asked what they were given, Tracy replies with a smile, "Love. Look at this -- this is canned goods, blankets, clothes for the kids. Thank you, thank you. All you angels out there, thank you! You wouldn't believe how much this is helping all these children."
The Martin's say family is just one of dozens who have fallen on hard times and are now raising their children on the streets. They delivered nearly everything they were given to the man who directs the Summer Fun program the families started for their kids.
"Over here, everything is kids first. We feed the kids first, then the adults eat. Everything is focused on the children because there's so much children out here," said Tracy.
The Martin's say it's not just the kids whose spirits have been lifted, but the adults who are finding renewed hope from our community's kindness.
"Nobody wants to be out here. It's no fun. But this is incredible. We are so grateful," Tracy said, gesturing to the bags of donated items.
Little Thalia turns three next week and several Hawaii News Now viewers dropped off presents for her. Those were the few things the Martin's kept for themselves.
Tracy is working to get his ID replaced, which he says was seized when city crews came through to enforce the sidewalk nuisance ordinance. Without it, he can't get into a shelter -- but Tabitha says she'll get them back on a wait list as soon as the whole family can move into a place together.