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KCK mom and four young kids grateful to FOX 4 viewers who helped restore her power amid frigid temperatures

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A Kansas City, Kan., mom can't believe the kindness of her community, after dozens of strangers pitched in to pay her electricity bill.

“It shows you how many really caring people there are out there,” said mother Jessika Dukes. “How when someone needs help, they`re not scared to step in and help out.”

Dukes and her four young children were thankful to have working heat and lights in their home again come Wednesday night, when temperatures dropped below freezing.

It was a welcome change after BPU shut off her family’s power Tuesday morning because Dukes fell behind on her payments.

The utility company told her she needed to pay nearly $760 to get electricity restored – money her family just doesn’t have right now after recently falling on tough times.

After FOX 4 aired Dukes’ story, dozens of strangers offered to help. One woman, who didn’t want any recognition, paid off Dukes’ $760 bill in full to restore power Wednesday.

Another man also organized a GoFundMe page, where dozens of people raised more than $1,000 in just 15 hours to help Dukes pay off other utility debt and next month’s bill.

“In shock!” Dukes said of how she reacted. “You didn`t really expect it. It lets you know how much your community really cares and they`re really there for you.”

Dukes called the donations a “tremendous help” that will take the immediate pressure off her family’s finances.

“It’s much appreciated,” she said. “I didn’t expect any of this. We were just hoping for a payment arrangement. And this was kind of like, ‘Holy crap!’”

Dukes hopes to create a new payment plan with BPU so she can stay on track in the future – which is exactly what BPU recommends so people don’t find themselves in a similar situation.

There are also community organizations that offer to help people who can’t afford their utility bills, such as Catholic Charities and United Way.