By Natalie Zarowny
Tom and Classie Willis never thought their family would be part of an internationally shown documentary.
They also never thought they'd be homeless.
"No one's going to say, hey, today I'm just going to go ahead and stop doing what it takes to raise my family and just give up. It was forced out of our hands," said Tom Willis, who currently lives at the Salvation Army shelter in Davenport.
Tom, his wife Classie, and their four kids ended up moving from Florida to Chicago to live with relatives.
Then, when things got really bad, to temporary housing at the Salvation Army of the Quad Cities.
Fast forward a few months, and their family is asked to appear in a documentary about kids living in poverty.
"We looked at each other, and said, we have nothing to hide so why not?" said Classie Willis, Tom's wife.
The documentary's filmmaker Jezza Neumann was in Silvis this week.
He said he decided to base the movie in the Quad Cities because the three most compelling stories were here.
T. V. audiences will now see something the Salvation Army staff sees every day.
"This is going to spread the message that we want; that we've been wanting to spread so much further than we ever could have imagined," said Holly Nomura, development director at the Salvation Army of the Quad Cities.
As for the Willis family?
Even though they're still living at the Salvation Army, they said the experience has brought them closer together as a family.
And they hope their story will help put things in perspective for others.
"I really want the world to know that it's not just one family, it's a majority of a lot of people, it could happen to anybody," said Classie.
The documentary is called 'Poor Kids,' and will be on Frontline tonight at 9 PM on PBS.