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‘All my kids want for Christmas is water’: Community rallies around Rigby family

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The Belnap family | Courtesy Hailey Belnap

RIGBY — One local family has lived without water for five weeks, and now their community is getting behind them.

On Nov. 19, the Belnap family’s septic system broke and backed up into the house. Their home insurance won’t pay to replace it, and they can’t get a loan. Nobody except their immediate family and a couple neighbors knew they were living without water.

That changed Sunday.

“A friend of ours stopped by on Sunday and said, ‘What the heck, what is going on?'” Hailey Belnap said.

For five weeks the Belnaps have showered and done laundry at family and friends’ houses. Derek Belnap showers at the Jefferson County Jail, where he works. They use bottled water to brush their teeth and only got a Porta Potti two weeks ago.

“All my kids want for Christmas is water,” Hailey said. “We’re very quiet. Nobody knew we were doing this.”

That is, until friend Barry Woodhouse decided to find out what was going on.

“They really wouldn’t ask for help. But last week we were decorating for a church party, and she broke down,” said Amy Woodhouse, Barry’s wife. “Our community’s been taking them meals and stuff, but I didn’t know it was that bad.”

After learning the truth about the Belnaps’ living conditions, Barry put together a GoFundMe called Bless the Belnap Family and set a fundraising goal of $5,000.

As of Thursday around 1 p.m., the GoFundMe had raised $5,135.

“We are very very, very, very grateful that our community’s helping us,” Hailey tearfully said. “We’re very, very, very pleased and humbled by the people in our community.”

With the money raised and through other donations, the Belnaps will be able to replace their septic system and begin repairing the damage to their house caused by the drains backing up.

“It’s going to be a process, but we’ll get it done,” Hailey said.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: EastIdahoNews.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.

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