The mother of three children, Renee Finney, 42, died May 5 after a yearlong fight with cancer, leaving behind David, 15; Davion, 18; and Karries, 25.
With Mother's Day quickly approaching after their mother's death, the children decided to each write a letter to their mother, attach it to a balloon and let it loose on Sunday.
"At first I thought they were really dumb, like she's not going to get them," Davion told KGTV 10 News.
The letters expressed their longing for their mother and their desire to find enough money for a funeral.
The letters were let loose and ended up at the home of one woman from Murrieta, California, 30 miles away. It was Monday morning when Yvette Melton discovered the balloons on her doorstep.
"The morning after Mother's Day, I walked outside to find two Mother's Day balloons with three notes attached resting in my yard. I brought them inside and took the attached pictures as I knew that these had to be letters to heaven," Melton wrote online.
"I felt very intrusive but felt the need to find out where they had come from."
She read the letters and felt an immediate connection to the family.
"It was so many things in those letters that inspired me to help," Melton told People. "With a child writing, 'You are up in heaven but we are not able to bury you,' it just touched me. I had to help — it's something people should do."
Melton took the letters to work where she shared her discovery to her boss and co-workers. Together the employees at Fallbrook-based Color Spot Nurseries Inc. raised $2,000 for the family.
The Finney children had also spent Mother's Day weekend raising money, organizing bake sales and car washes, and raised an additional $2,000, KGTV 10 News reported.
"I want to say thank you, I appreciate you, you are a godsend," Karries said in the TV interview.
While $4,000 was raised, the family was still in need as the funeral costs totaled $10,000. Melton decided there was more she could do and created a fundraising page on Go Fund Me called Letters to Heaven. The page has raised $11,336.
"It's the right thing," Melton told PEOPLE. "It's part of being human, helping each other."
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