Good Neighbors

Pittsburghers Team Up to Help Desperate Mom

See what happens when a woman desperate to get her kids out of a dangerous rental house reaches out to Sparkt, and Marty, Wendy Bell, Sparkt readers and KDKA radio listeners get involved.


"Yea! We have furniture! We have furniture," Colleen Ross crowed as she and her toddler Penelope danced around the living room of their new home in Hopewell. Rewind, and a month earlier Colleen was desperate and in tears, wondering how she'd get her family into a safe place after what she thought would be a joyous move back home to Pittsburgh.

Colleen and her husband, who is stationed with the Army at Fort Bliss, Texas, decided it would be a good idea for their family to be back in Colleen's hometown. They'd have the support of friends and family and the kids would be in position to attend good schools.

Colleen put down $3300 on a rental place in Economy and drove nearly 2000 miles from El Paso to find a house in such dangerous disrepair she and the kids had to move to a hotel. Now thanks to Marty, Wendy Bell and their fans on Sparkt and KDKA radio the Ross family is happy and healthy in a new place and Sparkt was there on moving day to capture it all:

After Colleen e-mailed Marty at Sparkt, Marty tracked down the owner of the Economy rental, living in Hawaii. The owner claimed a contractor renovating his house walked out in mid-job (we saw evidence of that when we were there) and agreed to refund Colleen's deposit.

KDKA radio listeners volunteered to pay for part of the Ross family's month-long hotel stay, and donated a decorated Christmas tree and toys for little Penelope, her brother Ryder and big sister Athena. Listeners also recommended a number of alternative rental houses, including the one where the family is now living. Movin' Murdy Moving out of North Versailles moved the family from the old house to their new place for free (Below, L to R: Adam, Kyle & Mark).

"I had lost all hope and there was no end in sight," a tearful Colleen told us as she got settled in the family's new home. "I always told my husband how incredible this city is," and it's true she said.

"Everybody helped us out which helped make our faith in humanity a little better." Colleen Ross

Colleen has special thanks for Marty and Wendy for making it all happen. "You're my angels and I love you guys so much!"

How can you start something good?
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