By Tim McNicholas

CHICAGO (CBS) — Christmas came early for a suburban family getting back on their feet after a fire left them homeless.

A nonprofit furnished their new place so they can enjoy the holidays there.

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Morning Insider Tim McNicholas captured the heartwarming moment when they saw their reimagined home for the first time.

If the saying is true, if home is where the heart is, then volunteers from Home 2 Home Project are giving Refugio Torres his heart back.

“It’s not easy to find people to take you in with four kids,” Torres said.

Torres’s struggles started in mid-October, when a fire started in another unit and spread to his family’s apartment in Melrose Park.

He rushed his kids outside, and even helped neighbors get out safely—but his home was ruined.

The family borrowed money and bounced from one hotel to another before moving into an apartment in River Grove—with hardly any furniture.

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“My kids were sad. They’ve been sleeping on the floor, so it’s pretty hard for them, you know? I only have covers and pillows for them to sleep on,” Torres said.

That’s when his children’s school—Lincoln Elementary—connected him with Home 2 Home Project.

They’re a nonprofit that brings new or gently used furniture to families transitioning out of homelessness.

“It’s not about putting the stuff or the furniture in, or all the things that we bring, it’s about creating a home,” said founder Janelle Town.

Torres and his family came home Monday afternoon to not just new furniture, but a kitchen complete with a gingerbread house and cookies, books and crayons for the kids, and even decorations tailored to their interests.

Then the emotions of the past few weeks poured out, Torres laughing and crying as he thanked the volunteers.

“I just feel happy. I feel happy for my kids, because this is what they wanted, and they’ve been sleeping on the floor. So it’s hard, you know, to see them sleeping on the floor sometimes,” Torres said.

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Now Torres and his family can’t wait to celebrate Christmas in a home that finally feels like a home.

Tim McNicholas