Family comes together to find their way through devastating loss

The Picardo family is finding their way through a difficult situation. Dylan and Rosie Picardo have four children, and when they lost Rosie’s sister to cancer last fall, they made the generous decision many of us would make for our loved ones. They took in her sister’s three children and became their legal guardians.

There was no question they would take in their nieces and nephew, but that didn’t change the fact that growing your family by three overnight can create significant challenges.

The Barzilai Foundation is dedicated to supporting hard-working members of the community that face obstacles outside of their control. Once we learned of the Picardos’ situation, our first move was to connect with the family and determine the best way to help.

Dylan shared that the family is handling things as calmly as they can. “We are taking each challenge one day at a time,” he said to us. As they navigate the immediate difficulties of housing and managing school, work, and activities for a family of eight, trying to remain positive was always at the forefront.

During our discussion, we identified the two biggest challenges were housing and transportation. The family put a long-term plan for their housing in place and while it’s not nearly the size they need, are making their current residence work for them in the interim. However, the logistics of transportation was where the family needed our help most without a solution in sight.

Dylan and Rosie had two vehicles. Neither was big enough to carry everyone, and the larger car was breaking down regularly. The household budget covers their core expenses, but with nowhere near the wiggle room to replace a car, and the repairs were adding up.

“I remember talking with Dylan about how the housing situation was progressing,” recalled Brandon Sosa, CEO of the Barzilai Foundation. “He mentioned how just the day before, their car had broken down and left part of the family stranded in the rain. Even in sharing this with me, he remained positive, upbeat, and focused on working through one day at a time.”

This was where the Foundation could make a big impact. The family’s transport problems were disrupting every single day of their lives and they had no clear solution.

“Finding a solution to this problem became a priority for us,” Sosa shared. “Small things like grocery runs and school events were huge challenges, and there was no chance for them to do bigger family activities like road trips or family outings.”

In May, the Barzilai Foundation presented the Picardos with a solution. We got them a new Ford Tourneo, a large vehicle that gives them the room and reliability they need. The process to get the vehicle took some time, and Dylan and Rosie managed to keep it a secret from the kids. When it arrived, their reaction was priceless: cheers from the youngest children echoed around the town when they saw their new ride for the first time.

The loss of Rosie’s sister is still fresh, and the family is still sorting through the grief and finding their new normal. As they find their footing, having transportation will at least remove one obstacle. “This gives us an opportunity to build happy memories with all of the family,” Dylan said.

“This family gets right to the heart of why our foundation was started,” Sosa said. “These are honorable people making selfless decisions, even in the middle of tremendous loss. Their positive outlook and desire to create their best life possible is inspiring. Hopefully, this takes away some of the difficulty of everyday life and makes it easier to build out a great future.”

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