Andy and Theresa Anderson

Andy and Theresa Anderson stand outside of their home with their new Dodge Caravan on Monday on the north end of Bozeman. The Andersons’ previous car was totaled when a drunk driver crashed into it while it was parked at their house.

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A new car sits on North Fifth Avenue near a broken fence — reminders of some of the Anderson family’s best and worst days.

About two weeks ago, a driver crashed into Theresa and Andy Anderson’s parked car in the middle of the night, pushing it up their driveway and through a wooden gate. If the car hadn’t been there, the driver likely would have plowed through their home — which is owned by Family Promise, a local nonprofit that works with homeless families — and straight into the bedroom where their granddaughter, Nevaeh Hendrix, was sleeping.

When the police came to investigate the crash, Hendrix, 15, had a stress-induced seizure during which she fell and had to be taken to the hospital.

With their car totaled and their granddaughter’s health uncertain, Theresa and Andy didn’t know if they would be able to celebrate Christmas this year.

But people have since stepped in to help.

“We’re going to have a great Christmas,” Andy said on Monday. “The love and outpouring from the community has been beyond belief. I have never seen anything like it.”

An anonymous couple gave Andy and Theresa a van that they had planned to sell and others have pitched in to pay for vehicle repairs. Firestone has pledged to replace the oil pump in the 1988 Dodge Dakota that has been sitting in Andy and Theresa’s driveway for a while, meaning the family will finally have two working vehicles.

When Landon Hull heard about the hit-and-run, he realized that he and a handful of other Boy Scouts had helped install the now-damaged fence in summer 2018 as part of an Eagle Scout project. Hull, senior patrol leader of Troop 676, immediately emailed Scoutmaster Jason Daughenbaugh to ask if he and other Boy Scouts could repair the fence.

“I don’t know this family specifically, but scouts are there to help, and I thought this was a time when we could help,” said Hull, 15.

Theresa and Andy’s insurance company retrieved their totaled car a few days ago, so the Boy Scouts can now clean up the area, determine which pieces of the fence they can salvage and begin repairs.

Patrick O’Neil, who lives near the Davis-Povah House, knocked on Andy and Theresa’s door after learning about the hit-and-run. They invited him inside and offered him coffee and a sandwich. As they chatted, O’Neil mentioned that he was seeking donations for Christmas lights for the Children’s Memorial Garden in Westlake Park. Theresa and Andy immediately grabbed a box of lights and gave them to O’Neil, insisting he use them for the garden.

“Here’s a family that’s struggling through something terrible, and they’re hoping to help me,” O’Neil said. “I was so touched and thought I should do something for them and Family Promise.”

He promptly planned a fundraiser at Midtown Tavern. He rallied the neighborhood, reached out to local businesses for donations and pulled off the event on Saturday. He is already looking toward his next fundraiser for Family Promise, which he hopes to hold in February at the Emerson.

“This isn’t just a one-shot thing,” he said.

After the hit-and-run, Family Promise’s phones rang off the hook. People offered gifts and donations not just to the Anderson family but also to all the families that work with the organization.

“We’re just grateful for what people have given,” said Christel Chvilicek, executive director of Family Promise.

Family Promise has a network of churches that provide a place for homeless families to eat dinner and sleep. The nonprofit also runs a day center on East Story Street where families can do laundry, cook, store their belongings and work with case managers who help them find jobs, childcare and housing. Since the organization opened in 2006, it has helped about 570 people, including the Anderson family.

Andy, Theresa and Hendrix were homeless for a brief time after their car broke down and they had to use their savings on repairs. They spent three months sleeping in Family Promise churches before moving to the Davis-Povah House, a transitional living space. They are planning to move into their own place in August.

They’re hoping to get money from their insurance company for their totaled car and support from the Department of Veterans Affairs — Andy is a veteran — that will help them secure a home in Belgrade near their three children.

Hendrix has been recovering from the seizure. She spent some time in a wheelchair Andy and Theresa borrowed from the Bozeman Senior Center, but she is now walking again and plans to return to Bozeman High School after winter break.

Family Promise gave Theresa and Andy a Walmart gift card after the hit-and-run, so they could purchase Hendrix a Christmas gift. They also invited their three children over to the Davis-Povah House for Christmas dinner.

“It seems like everything is on the up and up,” Andy said.

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Perrin Stein can be reached at pstein@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2648.

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