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ROWLETT—Alondra Acosta never thought that a trip to the dollar store might’ve saved her life.

“I was going to a wedding, and I put the present in this bag and I didn’t like the bag.  I said, ‘No, I’m going to get a different bag. It doesn’t look right, so I went to the dollar store,’” she explained.

Turns out, there was a bigger gift in store for her than could fit in that bag.

“It started getting darker.  I saw the tornado coming toward me.  [I thought,] ‘Well I could stop and get under the bridge,’ but then I turned left.  I parked, at the third house to the left, and I was so nervous, I couldn’t even unbuckle to run out because I saw the pieces of wood and the trees.  I knocked on the door, and then it was just quiet.  It just spared me.

When she got back to her Rowlett mobile home, remnants were all that were left.

“I was just in shock. I just wanted to get here to see if I could help somebody,” Acosta told NewsFix. “[I wanted] to see what happened to the house, to the neighbors.  I was looking for my dog, for Precious, I was calling her, and she came out from under the woods over there.  And I said you were okay! C’mon, let’s go.”

Alondra isn’t going it alone.

Samaritan’s Purse—the same ministry that Ebola Survivor Dr Kent Brantley was working with in Liberia—came to help this neighborhood.

“We came to Alondra’s home here and we saw the severe damage that she’s gone through, and we’re glad to hear she made it through the storm safe,” Bill Burden, Team Leader with Samaritan’s Purse said.  “We’re trying to help get her belongings out.  Her clothes, her furniture, pictures, anything like that that’s important to her.”

She showed NewsFix a photo of her grandson, Enrique, she was able to save.  He calls her ‘Nana Alondra.’

“I was glad that I wasn’t here.  God is good—spared me.  I feel very happy, relieved, and I feel that there’s people- -you know, willing to help others.  That makes me feel real good,” she said.

“When we meet with a homeowner like Alondra who’s gone through so much, and went through this tornado, and saw her home destroyed, our heart just breaks for her.  We want to do what we can to help and it’s so great to see the community come and rally around these homeowners that have gone through this tornado,” Burden said.  “People from all around Dallas as well as out-of-state have come to help her today, and it just gives us a great feeling that we can help her in some small way that maybe gives them a little bit of hope, that there is a future for her, there is a rebuild, there is ability for her to regather her things, and make a new life.”

Just in time for a new year.