Teenager Lives Up to Her Words of Helping Others

The fire at Jane Ellenbart’s home in November left her feeling desperate until she received an unexpected visit from a young neighbor she didn't know.
"I’m just sitting there like in a daze... and to me it was like an angel coming out of the smoke," Ellenbart told NBC 10 News Tuesday.
Her angel was teenager Katie McGarry who visited the fire scene with her mother the following day. The Buena Regional High School sophomore presented the Ellenbarts with $400 in gift certificates to local stores and restaurants.
The money was part of a $500 prize the 15 year old won for an essay she wrote three years ago (while in seventh grade) about helping others.
“Mom, I gotta use this money. I gotta use this money for them,” McGarry said to her mother.  “It just felt right to not spend it on myself and to spend it on people in need.”
“You know how your heart swells up and you feel like you’re going to cry?" said Ellenbart. "I just stood there...magnetized...‘I can’t believe she’s doing this,’” Ellenbart recalled.

“It was so loving and unselfish that people have to know about the good things that the kids do, not just the bad,” added Ellenbart.
The Ellenbarts aren’t the only people McGarry has helped. Soon after winning that prize money, she donated $100 to a Vineland family whose home was also hit by fire. She saved the rest of the money for another day.
“I decided I would use it next time I found something and I didn’t find something until now,” she said.
The Ellenbarts are now living in a trailer in their front yard and hope repairs to their home will be completed by the spring.
Although the money Katie McGarry won is now gone, her drive to keep helping others is anything but spent.
“After you help people, the feeling is amazing,” she said.

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