Strangers help family of four robbed of everything

After a family of four was robbed of everything, two Snohomish County nonprofits stepped in to change their lives.

“We are not professionals by any means,” Lindsey Arrington tells us.

But that is what makes her and Robert Smiley so incredible at what they do it’s personal.

“We are both in long-term recovery from addiction and we both decided this was our purpose,” Lindsey explained separately, but at almost the exact same time.

“It was totally meant to be. It was fate,” the pair told us.

About five years ago, Lindsey started Hope Soldiers to help people suffering from addiction and depression; shortly after, Robert started the Hand Up Project to tackle homelessness.

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“We have eight trailers we can put families into,” he said.

So when a desperate family just days away from homeless showed up at the Sunday free dinner run by Lindsey’s organization, the pair knew they could do the most good together.

The Hoffmans moved here from Wyoming by way of Kansas and Colorado. They were traveling with another family, staying in two separate rooms at the Motel 6, when that family took off in the middle of the night with Joseph Hoffman’s wallet and everything else the Hoffmans owned.

Suddenly they needed housing, transportation, food.

“We were running around in circles and ended up holding a sign begging for money just so we could put our kids somewhere to sleep for the night,” Angelica Hoffman explained.

And now they can, no sign necessary.

Hope Soldiers got the Hoffmans another week’s worth of hotel rooms; the Hand-Up Project got them a trailer. Joshua and Jesse got brand-new clothes; mom and dad will get new clothes to wear while they look for new jobs. The boys will be enrolled in school.

“We also truly believe in the American dream,” Lindsey told the family.

Through Hope and a Hand-Up from two people who have been there, that is exactly what the Hoffman family will have.

“It’s indescribable how you feel when you get help when you’ve hit rock bottom,” 12-year-old Joshua told us.

The trailer situation will be temporary. The way the Hand Up Project works is by providing families with a safe and free place to stay while they save up rent and a deposit for a place of their own.

If you'd like to help the Hoffmans or other families, visit www.thehandupproject.org.

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