FLAGSTAFF, AZ - A homeless family is asking you for a dollar to help get them back on their feet. But they insist this is not a handout.
Suzanne and John Kammerman have been camping with their five kids near Flagstaff for the past three months.
The kids' ages range from 8 to 18.
With temperatures starting to cool down, they are trying to raise enough money to rent a home.
"We're not looking at this as a bad experience," said Suzanne.
The family sold everything from their Idaho home to relocate to Flagstaff. The camping trip started as a vacation.
The plan was for John to start up his business while the family vacationed and visited with friends and family.
"The business didn't just snap into place and we started running out of savings," said Suzanne.
The kids are in a hectic schedule when it comes to school. Suzanne said the kids are enrolled in school through a "blended program" that allows homeschooling while getting on-line assistance. Each day, she takes the kids to the library and the Flagstaff YMCA.
"I love this but I am concerned about school," said 15-year old Alan. "I miss the social side of it and doing stuff with friends."
"It gets freezing in the tent," said 8-year old Ella. All the kids said they enjoyed camping but are ready for a home.
As a way to help raise money, the family launched a website called Just-1-dollar.org. They're asking for a $1 contribution. But for that dollar, the family offers some unique gifts.
"Alan, my oldest son, will show you a great fire starting trick that you can use while camping, Nathan who is 10 is an actor and will show you his impersonation of a 'raindrop' that is very entertaining," smiled Suzanne.
The other gifts include short stories and art work that the kids created themselves for people to download.
Suzanne said the idea is first to raise enough to get rent money and a few belongings to safely get into a home.
"We're thrifty," she said. Any money raised above their basic needs will eventually go to help other families in need.
"It isn't a hand out," she said. "We're pulling ourselves out of this and other families might be able to also."
Suzanne estimates they'll need $3,000 or $4,000 to get settled again but hasn't put a dollar figure on the minimum needed yet.
Suzanne and her family say really the whole experience has been a blessing in disguise.
"It really makes you reevaluate what you need and what you don't need," said Suzanne. "The kids have learned so much and I've really watched them grow."
Suzanne explained they are not a non-profit, but she hopes to explore that possibility down the road.
"If we took out the fact that we are homeless and just sold the gifts, I think it would work, too," she said. "I think what we are offering is definitely worth a dollar."
Visit just-1-dollar.org to see how you can help.
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