ORLANDO, Fla. - A single mother of 10 children died six weeks ago, and the children were split up into different homes until now.
But Channel 9's Vanessa Welch learned parents and teachers in College Park launched a local effort to reunite the brothers and sisters under the same roof.
Single mother Desire Andre was working three jobs to make sure her children could grow up together, but she was killed 10 days before Christmas, and the kids were split up among relatives.
Andre stopped to get help after her car broke down along Lee Road. But when Andre was crossing the road, she was struck and killed while six of her children witnessed the horrific scene.
The image still haunts Andre’s 14-year-old daughter, Kiera.
“Every time I close my eyes, I just had images of when I saw her in the hospital and when she got hit,” Kiera said.
The children’s grandmother, Andrea Wingster, is working to get custody of all 10 kids, but her two bedroom apartment in Pine Hills is too small, and they'd have to change schools.
Several of the children are enrolled at Lake Silver Elementary School in College Park. There, other parents have been driving them back and forth.
“It tugs on your heart to see these children lose their mother and still wanting to be in the school system, still wanting the opportunities they had before,” said parent Chuck Price. “If we can keep those kids together, keep them in this school district, we can rally behind them.”
Price, along with other parents and teachers at Lake Silver, is raising money to move them into a rental home close to their schools.
One home is three bedrooms and costs $1,500 a month, which is almost double the amount Wingster pays for her current apartment.
“I can’t imagine them having to go to another place,” said Price. “I feel like they might lose the support they have here in College Park.”
Local contractors have expressed interest in building the family a home if they can raise enough money.
Grateful for the support, Wingster said she is praying for a miracle as she works to fulfill her daughter’s dream of raising her 10 children together.
“With the help of God and the community, we will make it, we will,” she said.
Andre was not in a crosswalk when she was struck, so the driver who hit her on Lee Road was never charged.
WFTV has established a United Way fund to help the Wingster family: United Way Wingster Family Fund