Upstate mother in need has new heater installed after winning contest

Martha and her daughter (FOX Carolina)

The mother and daughter are inseparable, holding hands as they sit on the couch. At just 9-years-old, Madison Bridges said her mom is her everything.

"I'm grateful because she does so much for me,” Bridges said. “Like whenever I'm starving and we have no food, she tries her best to make food out of anything that we've got. She also tries to keep me warm."

Lately, that last part has been hard, but the living room is where you can find them every night in the winter, trying to get by. Holes are stuffed with paper towels, and a mattress is set up on the floor of the living room covered in a pile of blankets. It's the only place in the house they can sleep to stay warm.

"You think when you're all alone at night and you cry that nobody loves you and don't nobody care about you,” said Martha Friend, a single mother. “But then when all these people come together, you finally realize that there are people out there that care about everybody."

Life hasn't been easy for Friend. She said her daughter was just 18-months-old when they got a knock on the door, followed by the news that her husband had died from a heart attack. She was a widow, who then had to raise her daughter on her own.

"Are we going to make it through the night or are we going to freeze to death?,” Friend said. “That’s what I’d be sitting there asking myself.”

Things are looking up for the small family, though. Their friends nominated them in a contest with One Hour Heating and Air, and much to Friend’s surprise, they won!

A brand new HVAC system will be installed on Tuesday.

"I’m still in shock,” Friend said. “I was trying to figure out if I was dreaming that I won.”

"When we get it and it's in my house, it's going to change my life," Bridges said.

The 9-year-old has gotten used to sleeping on the couch or the mattress on the floor with her mom. For months she's been avoiding the back of the house and when she does go back there she said she has to bring all of her blankets. However, a new heater means she can finally sleep in her own room.

"I'll have a good night sleep because I'll be warm enough," Bridges said. “I’ll sleep all the way through the night.”

The family was one of many nominated for the new system, but when One Hour Heating and Air went to pay them a visit, they said they knew it was a family in need. The company said they can’t wait to install the new system on Tuesday.

Copyright 2018 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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