Community helps Central Illinois family with 5 kids expand their 2 bedroom home

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EDELSTEIN, Ill. (WMBD) — Troy and Andrea Stringer have been fostering children for ten years, opening their home to at least 21 children over the years.

Sandy Snyder, Andrea’s friend, said they both are two of the most selfless and giving people she knows.

“They have inspired the lives of many children with their fostering,” Synder said. “I love to see how happy she is and how happy she makes the children.”

Currently, the family has five children, one biological daughter with Cystic Fibrosis, and are fostering four others including one with extra medical needs. The family of seven is also living in a 950 square foot home with two bedrooms and one bathroom.

Synder said the space is simply too small so she decided to return the love she said they’ve given so many children.

“I decided to try to get them a bigger space to live in and to have their children and family time,” Synder said.

Snyder created a fundraiser to help add on an additional 500 square feet to the family’s home. She said plans include turning the living room into a bedroom for the couple, the breezeway into a bathroom, and turning the attached garage into a family room.

This is a gesture Andrea and Troy still said blows their minds.

“We were shocked and blown away,” Andrea said. “It was almost like we went into this dream world of like ‘really is this really happening?”

The couple said they’ve given up their bedroom and moved into the breezeway of the home with no privacy to keep the foster siblings together.

“It was very small out there and very cold in the winter,” Andrea said. “No privacy because we had to walk through there to get to the garage.”

Synder said after posting about the fundraiser she was overwhelmed by the responses. She said the Stringers’ story touched so many donors, community members, and businesses, many donated free services, and they’ve been able to raise about $20,000 to complete the interior.

“I’m just wanting them them to be happy,” Synder said. “They deserve it.”

The couple said if anyone’s more excited than them it’s their children.

“When everyone leaves, they immediately want to go out there and rip out nails or clean up the floor,” Andrea said. “Anything they can do.”

The family said they’re looking forward to enjoying a bigger family space and being able to actually fit a couch in the living room. They said they’re not sure how to show appreciation for all the prayers and support they’ve received.

“How could you ever say thank you enough for something like this,” Andrea said. “We keep saying thank you but we feel like that’s not enough.”

Synder also credits Home Comfort Insulation, Armstrong Heating & Cooling, Priority Plumbing Plus, Economy Builders, and Columbia Rug Carpet One for being some of their biggest supporters.

She said their ultimate goal is $50,000 to also be able to construct a garage for the family after turning the current one into a family room. Synder said she encourages anyone who wants to help out to visit their Facebook page for information about donating and future events and auctions they have planned.

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