UPDATE: (December 27, 2022 – 6:24 p.m.) Betty Washington set up a GoFundMe page to assist her and her children as the recover from the fire, and over $4,000 of a $10,000 goal has been raised so far.

Betty Washington is a Davenport mother who works hard to provide for her three children: a 13-year-old girl, an 11-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy.

But on Friday, tragedy struck that made her mission a lot harder.

Washington came home from doing some last-minute Christmas shopping to see fire trucks surrounding her apartment building and smoke billowing out of her windows. Her apartment at the corner of West 42nd and Division Streets in Davenport had gone up in flames, leaving significant smoke and fire damage to her unit.

Everything she and her kids owned, including all of their Christmas gifts, had turned to ash and smoke.

“When we came back from the store, the whole apartment was on fire,” Washington said. “So I was lost. I was lost at that moment. My kids, they wanted a good Christmas.”

“I go to work every day,” she said. “I work my butt off for my kids, and it was just like everything was burned in our face.”

The family has spent the last few days in a hotel, slowly trying to rebuild their lives.

Washington is searching for whatever help she can get from the community. She set up a GoFundMe page hoping for donations. Some of the first items on her new shopping list are winter clothes and blankets to help keep her kids warm.

“We really just need some boots and coats and covers. Man, these last few days it’s been cold,” Washington said.

The GoFundMe jumped up a few hundred dollars Monday evening – that’s a good start for the family. They’ve still got a long way to go, but Washington says she’s doing her best to stay strong for her kids, just as she’s done all along.

If you would like to donate to Washington’s GoFundMe page, you can find the link here.