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Merry Christmas: Police officers help family down on its luck

December 25, 2011 |  2:32 pm


It’s been a disaster since the Lawrence family moved to Glendale almost three months ago.

First a hospital visit brought a hefty medical bill, then sentimental Christmas decorations were destroyed, and two weeks ago someone stole the $800 car the family bought with the last of their savings. It had two car seats in the back.

“Right now is the worst possible time,” said Shannon Lawrence, who moved with her husband and two daughters from Charlottesville, Va., at the end of October. “Right now we are going through the trenches.”

But the Lawrence family’s bad luck streak is beginning to wane.

Stirred by their story, Glendale police personnel and their families showed up at the family’s apartment Saturday bearing food and dozens of Christmas gifts. Earlier, police brought a Christmas tree and decorations.

“It was above and beyond,” Lawrence said. “You never think you’d be part of a Christmas miracle. I don’t know what we would have done.”

The family moved to Glendale so Lawrence could pursue her dream of acting. She knew her chances were slim, but she wanted to try.

“I wanted to show my girls that success is not defined by how much money you make,” said the 26-year-old. “Success is defined by making a promise to yourself and keeping it.”

It took time to convince her husband, Adam, to make the move. His family told the couple that Los Angeles was a “horrible, dangerous place,” Lawrence said. They picked Glendale because of its safe reputation.

Then on Dec. 14, her husband left the house to head to work at Whole Foods in Tustin around 3:30 a.m. But the family’s green 1992 Saturn was missing.

“I don’t understand how someone can steal a car with two car seats in the back 10 days before Christmas,” Lawrence said.

Officer Rebecca Lopez responded to the call. She noticed the apartment didn’t have a Christmas tree. Lawrence told her the family was scraping by and couldn’t afford one. If they could get a small tree, the plan was to convert toys into ornaments.

Lopez asked the Police Department if they’d help buy Christmas gifts for the family. The community pitched in and gave food, a tree and car seats, too.

Lawrence sometimes catches her daughters, Adelai, 4, and Harlow, 2, hugging the tree.

“I love it,” Adelai told the Glendale News-Press.


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--Brittany Levine, Times Community News

Photo: Shannon Lawrence, center, receives gifts from the Glendale Police Department at her home in Glendale on Saturday, December 24, 2011. The Lawrence family moved to Glendale at the end of October 2011 from Charlottesville, Va. so that Shannon could pursue her acting career. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Times Community News)