October 20, 2021

Strangers donate money to McLean woman who lost $500 in laundry

Putting a new spin on generosity

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Jessica Peer of Freeville lost hundreds of dollars she was going to use to buy beds for her daughters in this washing machine. Strangers donated nearly twice as much as she lost.

Jessica Peer of Freeville always tells her four children to check their pockets whenever they go to the laundromat.

On June 16, Peer forgot.

Peer and her four children — Iiesha, 12, Gabriella, 5, Cerenity, 9, and Juliannah Peer, 14 — were at The Kleen Korner on Tompkins Street in Cortland doing laundry when Jessica Peer had just loaded her laundry into a washing machine and started it when she saw money and her ID spinning around.

She couldn’t open the washing machine until it finished, but Peer said she hoped she could get back her ID and bank cards along with $500 she was going to use to buy new beds for her children, who had nothing but air mattresses to sleep on.

She got the help of the manager and workers at the facility to open up the hoses to try to retrieve the money and cards, but they found only about $200.

“At first I was really upset and started crying,” Jessica Peer said, as the children had only air mattresses because the family was moving out of Peer’s parents’ home.

Gabriella, in particular, was upset because they wouldn’t be able to get beds that the children needed for their new home in McLean.

“I had to pull myself together, calm her down and just told her we would just save again,” Jessica Peer said.

That’s where Heather Williams of McLean comes into the story.

Williams, also at the laundromat when Peer lost her money, asked what had happened, Williams said. Hearing the story, Williams told Peer she would pray for her and went home.

When she did, she posted the story onto her Facebook page and Williams’ friends decided to help. One donated $470 to help Peer buy beds.

The total amount raised was $890, Jessica Peer said.

“So many people donated because they wanted to do something nice,” Williams said. “It was awesome.”

Peer said she was overwhelmed when she got the money, especially because it took her 2* months of babysitting to save up the money. More so, when bad things happen to her, nothing good ever comes back from them.

“I told my kids, ‘I guess there really still are good people out there nowadays,’ ’’ she said.

Jessica Peer has since ordered the beds — two bunk beds — for her children and is waiting for the bed frames to arrive.

“It was a miracle as I see it,” Jessica Peer said. “We just happened to cross paths at the right time.”

Williams said Peer deserved it in how she handled herself after losing the money by telling her children that she will just work to save up the money again.

“I just want her to know that she deserves this outpouring support,” she said.

And Jessica Peer’s message to her kids and to others?

“I just hope that everyone can see that just because something bad happens, don’t give up,” she said. “Just keep going. Don’t let it catch your life.”