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Plentiful presents, bittersweet Christmas

Local family receives outpouring from friends, family and strangers

Posted: December 30, 2010 8:03 p.m.
Updated: December 31, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Luke Follett, 5, left, and his sister Samantha, 8, play with new toys provided by the community at the home of Mike Smith in Newhall on Wednesday. The Folletts’ Newhall homewas burned in the early morning hours of Nov. 27 while the Folletts were visiting family. The cause is still under investigation.

Tony Follett’s young children, 8-year-old Samantha and 5-year-old Luke, enjoyed a Christmas most kids dream of.

The two young children played joyfully with a bounty of toys Thursday night at the Happy Valley home of a friend, where they’ve been staying since their mobile home burned down over Thanksgiving weekend.

Follett said he was grateful for such a plentiful Christmas, but the situation remains bittersweet.

“The kids enjoyed it a lot,” Follett said. “I didn’t have the spirit, though.”

The Folletts lost their recently paid-off home and all its contents in the fire.

“My wife and I didn’t give each other presents this year,” Follett said. They’ve received a lot of donated money and want to spend it wisely. They’ve cut back on everything, he said.

The community quickly responded to the family’s misfortune. Dozens of businesses and people pitched in to help.

Every member of the Follett family has a new wardrobe of clothing, and they’ve received furniture, appliances and a bounty of canned food and toys.

Tony Follett’s 29-year-old daughter, Amber Follett, and family friends set up a Facebook group called the Follett Family Relief Fund. It collects donations via a Z“The community is amazing,” Follett said. “And it is all from the heart, every bit of it.”

Despite the generosity, Tony Follett and his wife, Marcela, still have some major problems to solve.

The biggest one is where to live. Tony Follett had just made the final payment on their mobile home when it burned down.

“I feel numb, lost,” he said. “It swings throughout the day.

“I need a solution. I can’t sit around and feel pity. It’s not going to help my family,” he said.

Meantime, the family occupies two rooms at the home of a friend.

“The children have gotten so many toys,” Tony Follett said. “They are really excited.”


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