COLORADO SPRINGS — The holidays can be a stressful time of year, with all of the expenses that go along with it. However, for dozens of families displaced by asbestos found in Colorado Springs apartment complexes, the community came together to ensure they can still give their children a special holiday season.
A gathering of people met at Sunrise Church on Saturday for a toy drive, dedicated to the families who had to find a new place to live, as well as prepare for the holidays. "I was angry, because it was like, we're over here trying to work and get all our stuff together, and then they're kicking us out of our homes. And, you know, we as it is don't have much, so we're like scrambling to find a place, especially with three kids, is super hard," said Mitchell Romero, a father of three young children. Romero said they are happy to have gotten their children out of the apartment safely.
Sarah Preciado, one of the organizers for the toy drive, said they had several drop-off locations for the toys throughout the city, and they even set up a GoFundMe account that had money donated from several different states. "It just kept tugging at my heartstrings, I just can't imagine being told, by the way you have to leave... Everything happens for a reason, and even though there's a bad thing going on, there's always something good that comes out of it," said Preciado.
It's something the Romeros said they have discovered throughout this whole process. "We go through a struggle together, and we all stick together through it. It teaches us how to stick together when everything's going downhill," said Romero.
News 5 Investigates has been following the developments in the apartments contaminated by asbestos since it began. Here are some of their previous reports:
Asbestos forces evacuation of Colorado Springs apartment complex
Second apartment complex in Colorado Springs evacuated for asbestos
News 5 Investigates: Did apartment management mislead tenants about high levels of asbestos?
Investigation launched into apartment complexes that forced tenants to leave over alleged asbestos
Follow up: Management says tenants evacuated over alleged asbestos concerns have been helped