(CNN)The young woman walked into a room filled with law enforcement officers. She had been invited to the suburban Orlando sheriff's office but was confused about why she was there.
This 20-year-old is raising her five younger siblings after their parents died. The sheriff's office just bought her a car
Then they asked her to come up on stage, where one deputy ceremoniously unveiled a picture of a new Nissan Versa.
"It's yours," he said.
The woman, 20-year-old Samantha Rodriguez, was overwhelmed. For almost three years, she has been taking care of her five younger siblings. She's been keeping them clothed, fed and going to school every day -- all without the help of a car.
"When they told me the car is for us, I remember thinking, 'They just took away all these worries and stresses.'" she told CNN. "It was such a big weight off my shoulder and will help so much."
Both Rodriquez's mother and father died from cancer in the past five years.
Her siblings, now ages five to 17, were in danger of heading to the state's foster-care system.
"I knew what I had to do," Rodriquez said about her decision to raise her brothers and sisters. "I learned so much from my mom. I was like her sidekick. I learned what it meant to raise a family."
She moved with her siblings to Orange County, Florida, because their grandmother lived there.
But resources were scarce and Rodriquez had to grow up fast.
"It can be tough knowing when to be like a parent and when to be their sister," she said. "Sometimes it can feel like I'm alone."
Last December, the Orange County Sheriff's Department's aviation unit learned of Rodriguez's unusual family and how they were sticking together through tough times. The officers invited the kids for a visit.
"We took pictures with the officers and the helicopter," Rodriguez said. "Then they said, 'Let's go into this room for milk and cookies.'" The room was filled with Christmas presents for the family.
"We focused on clothes but also toys," Lieutenant Antorrio Wright told CNN. "We wanted to give them a good Christmas."