Church helps out after fire in Cleveland destroys family's house, belongings

Family moved from Puerto Rico two months ago

CLEVELAND - Carlos Hernandez's hopes and dreams of starting over in Cleveland with his wife and two children were gone in an instant. A fire ravaged through their apartment last Monday destroying their belongings.

Hernandez moved to Cleveland from Puerto Rico two months ago looking for better work opportunities; hoping to give his wife and children a better life.
"It was a very sad experience, a lot of sacrifice. I wouldn't wish that on anybody," Hernandez said through his interpreter Samuel Rosario. Hernandez nor his wife speak English.

He said he had just saved enough money to move his family to Cleveland when the fire happened.

The family spent a week in a local motel thinking they had nothing left. Then Casa Del Alfarero, or The Potter's House Church, stepped in to help.

"Me and my family we feel loved, we feel cared for by God, by people that are supporting us," Hernandez told his interpreter.

Pastor Angel Arroyo and his friends also got involved to help the family.

"When they reached out to us, we called out to the community and what better to show for the community is community outreach to help our own people," Arroyo said.

Donations poured in, along with toys for the children and furniture; more than enough to give them a new start.

"In just one day we received almost half a church full of clothes diapers," Arroyo said.

They're also getting calls from Akron and Alliance agencies offering refrigerators, stoves and other major appliances. The Cleveland Police Department even chipped in, giving them a week's supply of groceries from the West Side Market.

"We're going spend a $120 on groceries and support the market and support this family at the same time," said Cmdr. Keith Sulzer.

Hernandez said he can't find the words to express his gratitude.
"My family's fine, that's the most important," he said.

The family is in need of a couch, more diapers, dressers and a crib.

If you're interested in helping with this effort, you can contact Angel Arroyo at 216-903-2319 or email him at

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