Gaby and Gabe can’t help but marvel at the 200-foot cottonwood tree that tore through their Grandparents home in North Cowichan.

“It’s kind of hard to comprehend what’s going on,” said Lester Joe.

The Joe family’s house was nearly destroyed during the massive windstorm that swept through the region in December.

On top of becoming homeless just days before Christmas, thieves burglarized their home and made off with all of their gifts.

“We never thought anything like this would happen to us,” Joe explained.

Lester built the two-storey home with his own two hands 26-years-ago for the family of six.

“They were feeling really bad about what happened to the house because this is where we’ve lived all this time,” said Joe.

The tree sliced through the top floor and heavy rains that followed flooded the house.

“This is the worst damage on a house project I’ve ever seen,” said contractor Andrew Brydle with Rock Steady Restorations.

It could be late spring until the family is able to return home, but volunteers are stepping in to help the family get back on their feet.

Members of a community group and the Aboriginal Neighbors Hospitality Team are holding a breakfast fundraiser for the family at the Esquimalt United Church.

The fundraising breakfast will take place on January 12 from 9:30 a.m. until noon at 1315 Lyall St. in Esquimalt.

“You want to help any neighbour who is having a hard time,” said Robert Loten with the Esquimalt United Church.

Organizers say any amount is appreciated to help restore all that was lost for a family that has so much to give.

“Don’t take it for granted that everything is going to be okay,” Joe said. “When something like this happens, it’s hard to deal with.”

A GoFundMe Page has also been set-up for the family.

Ceilidh Millar