- Rita Ora Calls Beyoncé 'Family' – See Proof that U.K. Singer Is Not Becky with the Good Hair
- Read the Cover Story: Prince, 1958-2016
- Lena Dunham, Jenni Konner and Jenna Lyons Are J. Crew Tuxedo Triplets at the Met Gala
- Black Panther: 5 Things to Know About Captain America: Civil War's Newest Superhero
- Kylie Jenner's Balmain Met Gala Dress Made Her Bleed: See Her Red Carpet War Wounds
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
- July 27, 2009
- Vol. 72
- No. 4
They Helped a Mom Turn Her Life Around
Jen Burke had never felt so alone. On Jan. 5, after a financially draining divorce, she lost her home; the next day she was laid off from her executive-assistant job. After two months of staying in South Florida motels, she was down to loose change; that night she and her daughter Phoebe, 5, bedded down in her 1995 Honda Accord. "It was official," Jen, 39, says, her voice breaking. "I was homeless."
Two days later Cassandra Toroian and partner Jackie Blue saw Jen's story on the news. "She was so sweet—any of us could end up in this situation," Cassandra recalls thinking. "I turned to Jackie and said, 'I want to help.'"
Getting Jen's number from the television station, Cassandra, a money manager, called a motel and gave them her credit-card number to cover Jen and Phoebe's stay, then overnighted Jen $1,000 in cash and prepaid debit cards. A few days later the couple helped move Jen and Phoebe into a cheerful two-bedroom apartment, where they're picking up the $1,350 monthly rent until Jen gets back on her feet. "We wanted to be careful," Cassandra says, "but once we spoke, we got comfortable with each other."
These days Jen, who once worked in television, is launching a video-memory service aimed at seniors. The other night, putting Phoebe to bed in her new room, with its hot-pink duvet and matching lamps, Jen marveled as her daughter said she wanted to grow up to be President. "If it weren't for these two ladies," Jen says, "she'd be thinking about where we'd be sleeping. How can any human beings be so kind?"
Know a hero? Send suggestions to email@example.com
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!