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Angela Brooks with four of her grandkids: From top left to bottom right: CarlMelo Kerrey, Jaylin White, Jaision Ward and JaShaun Ward Jr. Brooks got help to move into a townhouse.

Omahan Angela Brooks had enough money for either the rent or the deposit, not both.

It had taken three years to move to the top of the townhouse’s waiting list. This was her chance to move out of the apartment she had shared with her late husband and try to ease her grief.

Unsure of where to find help, Brooks approached Kristi Frazier, intake specialist and data manager of Family Housing and Advisory Services.

Frazier suggested The World-Herald’s Goodfellows charity and helped Brooks fill out an application. Goodfellows provides one-time emergency assistance to struggling area residents through partnerships with community organizations like Family Housing and Advisory Services or United Way.

The application was approved within a day. The deposit was paid, and Brooks moved to her new townhouse within a month.

“It made me cry,” Brooks said. “I’m especially appreciative of (Frazier) and her caring heart. … I want to thank her personally.”

Her old apartment wasn’t always bad. She and her husband, Kenneth Brooks, used to host parties with visiting family, featuring dancing and card games, pizza and barbecue. They also liked to watch sports on TV.

The couple were together for almost 10 years before getting married in January 2016. Brooks’ kids and grandkids were crazy about Kenneth, and he was crazy about them.

So when Kenneth died just eight days after marrying Brooks, the whole family grieved.

“All those years he’d been asking me to marry him,” Brooks said, “and as soon as I do, I marry him and turn around and bury him.”

Brooks continued to live in their home of seven years. She frequently cried and played recordings of their favorite songs.

But living among memories and lugging groceries up two flights on stairs on arthritic knees began to wear on her. By this fall, she was ready to move on.

“Now I try to remember the good memories and smile when I think of the good times,” Brooks said.

Three months after moving into her townhouse, Brooks is feeling better mentally and emotionally. She chats with neighbors at the mailbox, trusts Neighborhood Watch to keep her home safe and enjoys the quiet area.

Brooks said she’s looking forward to saving money and keeping busy with volunteer work or exercise at the YMCA. If possible, she’ll fly to visit two of her children in Texas for Christmas.

Most of all, Brooks is happy for the blessings she has. She said she wouldn’t be where she is without Goodfellows.

“It was a life saver,” she said.

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skarst@owh.com, 402-444-1276, @sierra_karst

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