Judge donates to victims of Gulfport fire

Judge donates to victims of Gulfport fire

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Arkeya Bennett was at the end of her rope after her apartment was destroyed by a fire in May.

She was placed in another apartment owned by the same management firm, but things took a turn for the worst when she couldn't afford to pay the full amount of her rent.

"My landlord actually took me to court because I was short $75 on my rent. I had paid the $300, and they tried to evict me behind that," said Bennett

Bennett says that once she got into the courtroom, things began to change in an instant. What started out as a tragedy turned into a triumph.

"The judge ended up hearing both sides and when he got to my side and heard my personal information, and next thing you know, that evening he was knocking on my door. He said, 'I want to see the conditions you were living in."

Judge Melvin Ray and several others donated multiple pieces of furniture, food, and school supplies for Bennett's 5th grade son.

Judge Ray released the following statement:

"In my 23 years of serving the citizens of Harrison County as a Justice Court Judge, I have never been so touched by this person's personal story. After court I felt so moved to do something to help her so I found her that evening and simply said  help is on the way. I made a post on my page really as a way to release my emotions and I guess that it turned into an appeal to my friends to help her. With so much sadness in  the world the response of so many people who want to help Ms. Bennett really brought joy to my heart. People said to me, 'Thank you for letting me help,' and then Ms. Bennett, filled with tears of joy, would say, 'These people are helping me and don't even know me.'"

Bennett hopes to raise money in efforts to help others who have been victims of fires and other unfortunate events.

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