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  • Journalism for good

    The Washington Post published an article March 22 about a homeless couple who lived with their dog in a tent near Union Station. The gripping story focused on Monica Diaz, a fast-food employee trying to hold her life together as she, her husband and their beloved pet dealt with the indignities of living on the street.

    The day the story came out, a law student named Gabriela Sevilla set up a GoFundMe account for the couple. As of April 4, 713 people have donated $41,769 to help them find permanent housing.

    “Like Gabriela, I read the Washington Post story about Monica, Pete and (dog) Sassy and couldn’t get them out of my mind, knowing how close all of us could be to disaster and trying to think of ways that I might be able to help directly,” GoFundMe user Louise Werner commented. “I am so grateful that Gabriela stepped in to ‘adopt’ this family and has raised enough money to get them a new start. Miracles really do happen when we put ourselves out there and work to end the misery that others are suffering in our human family.”

    The couple showed incredible bravery by letting a reporter and photographer into one of the most difficult times of their lives. I loved reading this story and, of course, seeing the happy ending. The article didn’t alleviate every problem for Monica, Pete and the many other homeless people living in Washington. But in their generosity, readers made a difference in a stranger’s life.

    I’m blessed to see this all the time working at the Catholic Herald. After we published an article about an Alexandria abortion clinic, a woman contacted me asking if I knew someone who could go with her to pray outside the clinic. After I wrote a story about a Pakistani family who recently immigrated to the United States, several people asked how they could help. A support group for mother of children with special needs gained several new members after we profiled the group. The list could go on and on.

    I’m so grateful for people who share their stories, and for the readers whose hearts are moved by what they read. Journalists don’t always tell happy stories. Monica’s story certainly wasn’t. But oftentimes we have the power to change the ending.


    © Arlington Catholic Herald 2021

    @Zoey Maraist