GoFundMe campaign assists Peterborough family in need

Melissa French and her two daughters, Ella and Kat, enjoy a hayride last fall. French and her family had to move after the rental she was living in was sold. Through a GoFundMe campaign, the family now is in the process of relocating.

PETERBOROUGH – The French family recently found out that their landlord was selling the building where they were living and were informed they needed to find another place to live.

This created a mare’s nest for the family of five, as they had been renting their current residence for five years and now had to move.

Melissa French said the family had their stimulus check but little more to relocate and find a new place to live – no small feat considering rental property prices and a pandemic are not quite in the rearview mirror.

“The person who bought the building said he was going to try to be a landlord but changed his mind,” she said. “We got a letter that he wanted to fix it up and sell it so we had to get out.”

The new landlord agreed to give the French family three months to find a new place. French said the family had no savings at all.

“I’ve been buying food off of a credit card forever,” she said.

Living in the house are French and her husband and their three kids. Two are at home with remote learning in place. This was a tough time to face a move.

“This is an incredibly disgusting time for this to happen,” Melissa French said. “If I owned a property, I would never ask someone to move out during a pandemic.”

With no money to move, French said she “couldn’t wait for money to fall from the sky.”

She was encouraged to start a GoFundMe drive, and as French was trying to home school two of her children and with a diminished income, she agreed.

“I didn’t make a lot before and I’m trying to keep it all together,” she said. “It’s a handful.”

The GoFundMe goal was to reach $6500. That was surpassed by $300, as members of the community, some folks that French knew, and some she did not, rallied behind the family.

“That felt awesome,” she said. “Moving has been so incredibly stressful right now. It was horrible facing that. Trying to find a place with no money to look was just horrible.”

Luckily, the family has found a place in Dublin with a lease that starts on April 1. There’s a good chance, French said, that they may be able to move in a little sooner.

“If the people in Dublin move, then we don’t have to pay rent on two places at once,” she shared. “My current rent is $1300 and my new rent is $2050. That’s a huge amount of money. Over two months of that is more than half of the GoFundMe.”

French thinks the family will be “okay,” but added that the GoFundMe is what “got us through.”

“I know a lot of people in the same situation that have nowhere to go,” she said. “It’s very expensive to rent. With the cost of the building and insurance and taxes and utilities. I know it costs a lot.”

There are three units in French’s former residence and she said that landlord never raised the rent in five years.

“The $2050 does include heat and electricity,” she said. “That makes it almost even – which is amazing.”

The new lease is until June, but French said that her family has no plans to move again.

“Of course not,” she said. “I don’t ever want to move again. I can’t buy a house for another ten years at this point so I’m not moving if I don’t have to.”

French works as the pastor’s administrator at the Peterborough United Methodist Church. Her husband William is disabled. The past few months have been stressful for the couple.

“I’m sure it is for everyone,” she said. “There are explosive levels of stress right now in trying to move.”

The French family has been very careful and cautious during the pandemic, Melissa French said.

“We’ve been super strict about not going out,” she said. “Now, we have to run out to get boxes at the liquor store every week.”

French is glad that the worst is over and is extremely thankful for the outpouring of support she has seen.

“I was amazed at the response that I got,” she beamed. “It’s more than I could have everyone hoped for.”