A Philadelphia toddler found wandering barefoot and alone is generating headlines on the internet this week. According to The Morning call, the little boy was found at Love Park, and now an organization has decided they want to help this little boy and his family. Why? Because this little boy does not have a home or a bed to call his own.
Two-year-old Jeremiah was found wandering the streets of Philadelphia’s Love Park on Friday night. The little boy had wandered off while his parents were sleeping. Transit officers found the boy and took him to the hospital for treatment.
Jeremiah’s parents were located soon after he was found. They had no idea the little boy had woken up and wandered off while they slept, but they called the authorities as soon as they woke up and noticed he was gone. The boy’s father told the media that “somehow he crawled past the bags over top of us, and walked out.”
— Philly Mag (@phillymag) October 17, 2015
Angelique Roland and Michael Jones still had their four-year-old daughter with them at the time, but the police took both Jeremiah and the little girl. They are both now in the custody of child protective services.
One might think this is a case of child neglect and bad parenting, but the boy’s wandering off on Friday night is actually highlighting a very different problem facing people living in the United States – homelessness. The little boy and his family are homeless. On Friday night, they were staying at a makeshift shelter of cardboard boxes under the city’s welcome center. They had tried to find a spot at a homeless shelter for the night, but the shelter had no room for Jeremiah and his family.
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) October 19, 2015
Roland spoke with the local media about the boy’s discovery and the family’s situation. She said, “If I had somewhere to go, I would be there. I am not out here on the streets with my kids on purpose.”
After the little boy’s story went viral in the media, offers of support for the family started to flood in. The offers included job offers and other offers of help.
— Jeff Chirico (@JeffChirico) October 19, 2015
One organization, Chosen 300, started a campaign to raise $12,000 in 12 days. That amount of money would give the family housing for one year, and it would allow them to get back on their feet. According the local ABC affiliate, Brian Jenkins said that the situation “doesn’t make them bad parents. It says they don’t have what they need to be able to survive.”
Michael Jones revealed to the local NBC affiliate that he had been trying to find work to support his family for the last two years, but he has now received 55 job offers. Chosen 300 has already raised the $12,000 they set out to raise, as well. That goal was reached by Monday afternoon.
Chosen 300 sent out a press release when they began their campaign on Saturday.
“CHOSEN 300 has launched a campaign to raise $12,000 IN 12 DAYS to secure housing for this family for 1-year. In addition, our staff will be working with the family to provide case management, money management and social services to move them toward self-sufficiency. We know this family as they have come to our mission often to receive meals. We have witnessed their love and care for their two children, but have fallen on hard times.”
The family will soon be in their own home, but for now Marriott has given the family use of a free room at one of their locations for one week. They planned to move into that room on Tuesday, according to New York Daily News.
Once the family is settled, Jeremiah and his sister will be returned to their custody. No charges have been filed against the parents. However, a hearing will be held on Tuesday about the children’s welfare. Brian Jenkins told the media that the boy’s parents are “not bad parents, they are good people, but they just don’t have money, they are down on their luck.”
This is not the first story of a child found wandering the streets of Philadelphia. Last month, police found a two-year-old little girl wandering barefoot and alone on the streets of Kensington. Her mother was found later the same day. No charges were immediately filed in that case, according to the local NBC affiliate.
In the case of Jeremiah and his family, they will soon have a home of their own. The rest of the money raised by Chosen 300 will go to helping other needy families in the area.
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]