Want to help provide Thanksgiving and Christmas to our neighbors in Greene County? With Crosslines, you can help out by donating to the pantry or adopting a family in need.

Donate

Food

Crosslines is always accepting food donations to provide meals for those in need. Consider a donation of food to provide holiday dinner for a family.

Toys

Thousands more toys are needed!

The Toystore is collecting brand-new toys for children from birth to 18 years old, as well as books and knit items. If you have questions about what items we accept, please call us (417-865-5810).

Host a Food or Toy Drive

Looking to host a food or toy drive? Crosslines offers collection bins wrapped and ready for you! We also offer bulletin inserts, flyers, and posters you can distribute at your church or business. Please contact the Program Coordinator at 865.1076 ext. 101.

Donation Drop Off

Monday – Friday

9:00 AM-1:45 PM

front door of Crosslines (615 N. Glenstone)

If you need to drop off items at a different time, donations can be taken to our East “Delivery Entrance” until 4:30 PM on weekdays. Please call ahead (417-865-5810) to schedule a drop off time.

Adopt-A-Family through Crosslines

ADOPT A FAMILY 

All families have been adopted but there is still a need for donors to assist with care center residents. Please call 417-866-8008 if interested.

THANK YOU!

Springfield News-Leader Share Your Christmas

Share Your Christmas Drop-off Deadline: December 17, 2020

Crosslines has partnered with the Springfield News-Leader to publish the stories of families in need from circumstances beyond their control and find donors to support these families. 2020 stories will be shared starting Thanksgiving Day.  

2020 Share Your Christmas Stories

Story #1

After many, many setbacks this family is trying to start over in a new community, grateful to be in a safer location. They have been living in northern California and have experienced the devastation and heartbreak of wildfires. In the Paradise fire, they lost their business, and later their home was destroyed in the Clayton Fire. Most recently their house escaped burning, but the contents of the home were so badly damaged by smoke and soot that almost nothing was salvageable. In other years they have experienced long periods when the power was shut-off due to fire danger nearby or were required to spend days in evacuation shelters. In February, while still trying to recover from the recent fires, the thirteen-year-old daughter was struck by a car while walking home from school and was seriously injured. She has recovered from some of her injuries but suffers side effects from the head trauma, and continues to need therapy. The family was facing very costly therapy sessions, requiring trips to San Francisco, when they were told of a program available for their daughter in Springfield. Using funds from the sale of their California home, they purchased a home in Springfield and moved, bringing only a few boxes of clothing and family mementos.

Mom and Dad immediately began job hunting and were fortunate to find employment in the local industry. However, as the most recent hires, they were the first to be laid off when work slowed with the pandemic. Dad has recently found other employment, but Mother hasn’t been able to find work that offers a schedule compatible with her need to take their daughter to speech therapy and a son to sensory appointments.

While they are hopeful that the family situation will improve in Springfield, they have continued to face sadness and challenges. Their oldest daughter, her fiancé, and their infant son also moved to Springfield and were just settling into this new situation when the fiancé’ was killed while riding his bicycle. The daughter is finding it difficult to cope with this loss so she and the baby are currently living with her parents. Mother says that paying off their younger daughter’s medical bills is their top priority so they have purchased only the most basic items for their home. She would eventually like to have desks for the children to use for homework or dressers for storing clothing.

A former neighbor in California talked to Share Your Christmas about this family and told how they helped her and her invalid husband evacuate before one of the fires, how they shared food during one of the power outages, and how they volunteered for Toys for Tots. She said, “They were the best neighbors. I miss them so much, but my loss is Springfield’s gain”.

In addition to Mom and Dad, the family includes the nineteen-year-old daughter and her baby boy, sixteen and thirteen-year-old daughters, and a six-year-old son. The younger girls would like comforter sets for their beds, art supplies, and jewelry. The six-year-old son is autistic and Mother has suggested several sensory toys that would be appropriate for him. A high chair and some toys that have lights and music would be nice for the baby. The family was not able to remove the smoke odor from the clothing in their California home and have not been able to replace coats and other winter clothing so that is another thing needed by the family. They do not have many basic household items so assistance with that would be appreciated. If you would like specific information about gifts, clothing sizes, or other needs please call the Share Your Christmas office at 866-8008. Together we can show this family that they have moved to a very caring community.

 

Story #2

“Going to college while being a single mom is hard. I never thought that I’d be responsible for working and paying the bills, raising a child, and trying to get my degree on my own but here I am. Unfortunately, when Covid began things got rough. My daughter had to be home from mid-March until June because her daycare closed which forced me to leave my job and stay home as well. Now that she’s back in daycare I’m working again. I’ve worked on paying off old bills that were past due but it leaves very little left for anything extra.” Mother went on to talk about her classes at Ozarks Technical Community College where she is working on an Associate Degree. Her goal is to become a special education teacher for elementary age students. When talking with her employer, Share Your Christmas heard about a young woman who is a hard worker, respected by her co-workers, and admired for all she is trying to accomplish.

Mother says her eighteen-month-old daughter wants to assist with whatever she is doing. A child-sized broom or play dishes would be good gifts for this little helper. A play tent or baby dolls are other gift suggestions. If possible, Mother would like a set of queen-sized sheets.

 

 

Story #3

The Share Your Christmas team enjoyed reading about this interesting older lady. Among her many careers were four years as a United States Army medic, working as a credit manager at Wells Fargo, and teaching clerical skills. In addition to working, she also found time to give a mother’s attention to her twelve children. The staff wrote on this resident’s application for Christmas help, “She is a very sweet person. Always looking out for others. She loves Martha Stewart, cooking, art, and playing games”. When asked about her childhood she said she grew up in California and clearly remembers how her mother bought a slide from a local school and painted it blue and yellow. Perhaps that is why she requested a yellow sweatsuit or shirt. Underwear and shoes are other items needed. A radio with headphones is the treat she would most like to find tucked in the bottom of her Christmas box.

 

Story #4

It’s not surprising that a winter coat and gloves are two of the gifts this gentleman would like to receive in his Christmas box. He has always enjoyed the outdoors and told Share Your Christmas that his favorite memory is the day he was able to purchase a bass fishing boat. As long as he was able he continued to camp, fish, and spend time on his boat. The care center staff say he can be found sitting outside every day unless it is raining or snowing. In addition to a warm coat, he has listed pants and diabetic shoes as items he needs. Special treats would be diet Dr. Pepper and mini snack-size Snickers.

Story #5

When Mom and Dad began to notice soft spots in the floor of their rental house, they didn’t realize these were the signs of a major problem. Further investigation by their landlord revealed that the pipe draining the bath tub had never been correctly hooked up to the sewer line. For almost three years bath water had been flowing under the house resulting in rotting floor boards and black mold. While Mom and Dad were learning about the problems in the house, their jobs were terminated. Without jobs or housing they moved with their three young sons almost four hours away to stay with a family member. Recently they received job offers in Springfield and have returned to the city.  They’ve spent weeks sleeping on the floor or couch of friends while they hunted for somewhere to live. Recently they have moved into a rental home and are trying to get basic furnishing. With all the deposits, fees, and other necessary expenses they don’t have a way to provide Christmas gifts for their boys.

The oldest boy, age eight, would like a remote controlled car and Star Wars Legos. A tablet for preschoolers and  action figures are main requests for the four year old. Little brother is two years old and likes to color or paint. An easel is suggested for this young artist. The boys are growing rapidly so winter clothing and shoes are needed.

 

Story #6

“Hard working” and “determined” are words that come to mind as you read the application and talk to references for this single mother. Early this year Mother had saved enough money to move the family from public housing to a home in a more stable neighborhood. Because of the problems with bed bugs and roaches in their previous housing, Mother did not want to transport pests to the new home so most of their household items were discarded. She goes on to describe her situation this way, “We had to start completely over and then the pandemic hit. I ended up losing my job as a housekeeper at a hotel. Needless to say it was a struggle trying to decide if I should pay rent or utilities, buy food or household necessities. As a mom it makes you feel lower than low to know that you can’t provide for your babies the way you know they deserve. As of now, we are half way back on track. I landed a job as a delivery driver and even though it’s a job, I am still struggling to get back on track. With the help of God I will not give up. This year for Christmas I want to give my babies the best one possible. Maybe even try to find a tree to decorate. We have never done that before. I’m just happy they understand their mom is trying her best and though we may not have a lot or they don’t have the best, I refuse to give up. I still teach them to look out for others. Even if it means buying a homeless man a meal or giving your last to someone in need. I want them to understand that yes, we too are less fortunate, but it’s others out there that are worse. It’s our job as human beings to look out for our fellow people, regardless of anything. Help people.”

There are four children in this family so it may require several donors to make sure this mother can give her family a memorable Christmas. Perhaps someone would even like to provide that first Christmas tree Mother talks about. The children do not have bicycles and that would be their first choice for a Christmas gift. Mother realizes bicycles may be difficult to find this year so has given Share Your Christmas alternate suggestions. The sixteen year old boy would like a basketball hoop for the garage and a remote controlled car. His little brother, age nine, would also like a remote controlled car. Legos and action figures are also on his gift list. The eleven and twelve year old girls would like tablets if bicycles aren’t available. Makeup, jewelry, art supplies and craft kits complete their gift lists. Mother did not request any gifts for herself. However, practical items such as laundry detergent, paper products, and hygiene items are always appreciated.

 

Story #7

A donor is needed to make Christmas more cheerful for this older lady living in a Springfield care center. She grew up in a small farm town in Pennsylvania and especially enjoyed gardening and playing outside. She said she has always liked working with numbers and was a Certified Public Accountant assisting others with their taxes. The staff describe her as very quiet, most often found in her room reading Stephen King books. Her practical needs include a sweatsuit in a dark color, shirt, jeans, and underwear. This is a lady with a sweet tooth so special gifts requested are for miniature Hershey bars or peanut butter cups.

 

 

 

 

Story #8

There is no doubt what the favorite color is for this residential care patient. She has requested a red sweater, red pajamas, red bathrobe, and a red blanket for her bed. The staff describe her as “very friendly” and a lady “who loves to drink Coca-cola.” In the past she worked as a bookkeeper for a produce company and spent her free hours racing a Mustang at a local race track. This interest in racing continues and she tries to never miss a car racing program on television.

Story #9

While many people comment they are ready to see 2020 end, a mother writes, “I honestly wish I could just erase the last couple of years. It’s been one thing after another”. After reading what she wrote on her application for Christmas assistance it is easy to understand why she feels this way. There have been employment issues for both Mother and Dad. Earlier this year Mom was working and Dad was employed part time while he attends a local university. In March both parents lost their jobs due to Covid-19. Later that month Mom was able to get a job working overnight as a cashier, but Dad remained unemployed until July. When the store where Mother was working decided to close at night, she was moved from the cashier position to stocking shelves. The work was physically more demanding than Mother could tolerate due to arthritis so she eventually had to quit. In addition to work issues the family has known great sorrow. They are still mourning the loss of a full-term stillborn daughter; then in August, Mom’s mother died in a nursing home from the combination of kidney disease and Covid-19. Mother and her sister had to fundraise to pay for funeral expenses and a cemetery marker. In the midst of all these challenges the family was given notice in May that the landlord of the house where they had lived for seven years wanted to move into the home himself. With only weeks to find a new place to live and unable to afford much in rent, Mom, Dad and the four children have squeezed into a 850 square foot house. Despite all these setbacks there is one thing the family has been able to celebrate this year. Dad made the spring semester Dean’s list and will soon graduate with a degree in Emergency Management. With his background in police and security work the family is optimistic he will find secure employment. Mother writes, “I am sooo proud of him. We are praying that he gets hired full time during his internship as this would help out our family finances tremendously. Then we can return the love and kindness shown to us in these hard times.”

The children in the family are girls, ages twelve, nine, and seven, and a boy, age nine. Mother is homeschooling the children and has asked for notebooks, pencils, markers, and other basic school supplies. The oldest daughter would like a camera and books about horses. The nine year old girl is especially fond of unicorns and would be happy if a donor could find a large stuffed unicorn and perhaps pencils and notebooks with that same theme. A wagon and doll car seat are gifts listed for the seven year old girl. Both of the younger girls are autistic and will need clothing without tags. The only boy in the family likes trucks, especially Ford Pick-up trucks, and transformers like the Bumblebee VW. In addition to winter clothing he needs dress shoes for church. Non-food stamp items such as laundry detergent, paper products and hygiene items are needed.

 

Story #10

The Share Your Christmas team was touched by the way a mother wrote about her thirteen year old son. She described him as, “a great kid. He’s smart and does so much to help me with anything he sees that needs done. He plays football and has As and Bs in 8th grade. He’s the man of the house and never lets me down, no matter what is asked of him. He mowed lawns and helped build a shed in the summer months to help with bills and never complained.” In several ways it has been a difficult year for mother and son. Mother is a barber and for weeks was unable to work due to Covid-19 restrictions. During that time she became the full time care giver for her mother. Grandmother had congestive heart failure and required surgery to remove her colon. She got an infection and the stress was too much for her heart. Mother is the only living child so she has no one to share either the grief or the handling of her mother’s affairs. This is leaving little time or energy for job hunting. Mother closed her request for Christmas gifts for her son by saying, “He’s an awesome kid who keeps me going every day. He deserves a Christmas day that I won’t be able to give him without a little help”.

Suggested gifts for this young teen are a hand held game and a football. He is also a big Denver Broncos fan so a team shirt would be a special surprise. When asked if there was anything she needed, Mother said she just wanted her son to have a happy Christmas. Later she did mention the need for some new blades for hair clippers so she can return to work as soon as an opportunity arises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story #11

For many years this lady lived and worked in Ohio. She grew up in Toledo and has fond memories of going with her family to Lake Erie to swim. As an adult she was employed at a Libby glass factory. However, she says the best part of her adult life was having two daughters and teaching them to cook, clean, sew and do needlework. In the care center she enjoys quiet activities and would appreciate large print activity books such as Sudoku, word search, or coloring. The cold weather bothers this older lady so for additional gifts she has requested a warm sweater and nightgown, an animal print blanket and underwear.

 

Story #12

After serving in the United States Army this gentleman had an assortment of work experiences. He was a dishwasher, Walmart cart pusher and helped unload trucks. Perhaps his childhood in Amarillo, Texas, explains the pleasure he finds in watching Western movies. Before his health declined he liked to visit casinos. Unfortunately his other hobby, putting together models, is no longer possible due to his hands being too unsteady. His Christmas list is quite modest, a winter coat, Dr. Pepper, and bar-b-que chips.

Story # 13

During a pandemic it is easy to forget that there are other diseases that are having a negative impact on a person’s quality of life. Today’s stories focus on two young women who are struggling to raise their children while the symptoms of Sultiple sclerosis progress. In this first family, Mom has found she can’t cope with worsening vision and muscle weakness without the help of the children’s grandmother. Mother and the children, girls ages 16, 4, and 8 months, are now living with Grandmother. Mother recently left an abusive situation, has filed for a divorce, and is facing mounting legal bills. Grandmother is working almost full time but at an hourly rate just above minimum wage. Mother does not receive child support or food stamps. The reference for Grandmother said, “They are really struggling right now. I admire how (Grandmother) just keeps putting one foot in front of the other and goes on.”

The seventeen year old high school student is quite artistic. She enjoys drawing, painting and writing. Charcoal pencils, paints and a drawing pad are Christmas gift requests for her. The four year old is a big fan of Minnie Mouse. In fact she likes “anything to do with pigs”. Mother mentioned a small bean bag chair, perhaps as a place to read a story book about pigs, for this little girl. Blankets, board books, and any age appropriate toys are requested for baby sister. Special requests from the family are for wipes and baby shampoo formulated for sensitive skin.

 

 

Story #14

For the past sixteen years this mother of three children has been trying to cope with deteriorating health due to Multiple Sclerosis. At the urging of her extended family she moved to Springfield from Alaska to receive medical care from specialists at the Muscular Dystrophy Clinic. Here is how Mother explains her situation. “Although my disease has become more debilitating I fight every day because of (my children). I strive my hardest to do the impossible because of them. Against my doctors’ thoughts I am still driving, living on my own, raising my children and having the best home that I can provide them. I now walk with a walker and I have a wheelchair outside my home. My children help dramatically and unfortunately had to grow up helping me. About a year ago my girls’ dad…..stopped paying child support which in turn left me solely physically and financially responsible for my daughters. My girls have a huge heart and would do anything for anyone. My son does so much for his family its ridiculous.” Mother went on to tell Share Your Christmas about how the girls volunteer to help older people in their neighborhood and how her son cheerfully loads and unloads the wheelchair in and out of the car.  Mother’s application for holiday assistance ended with these word. ” Please help me make one day about them and not about helping me”.

The oldest child in the family, a seventeen year old boy, hopes to attend college and pursue a degree in Computer

Science. Gift cards were suggested as the presents he would most like. The ten year old girl enjoys crafts and would like a knitting or soap making kit. A basketball or “anything soccer” are other gift suggestions. The younger girl, age nine, would like head phones, art supplies, and unicorn themed bedding. Like all the Share Your Christmas families, household essentials such as laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, and hygiene products are always appreciated.

 

Story #15

To brighten Christmas day, this elderly lady needs a donor who can understand how lonely it would be to live in a care center and be separated from beloved pets. The staff says she likes all animals but “lights up when her dog or any animal visits the facility”. Since visits by animals are limited right now, the care givers have suggested a soft stuffed dog for her to cuddle. For practical gifts she would like a pink or purple sweatsuit, a blouse, with flowers if possible, and a nightgown. Underwear and shoes are also needed.

 

Story #16

At least two careers have made for a rewarding life for this older gentleman. He retired after working for sixteen years as a custodian in the Springfield Public Schools. And while he is no longer serving as a church pastor, he continues to help and encourage others at the care center. He has an excellent memory which makes him a whiz at trivia games. Watching his twins grow up and learn new things was one of the most rewarding parts of his adult life.

When asked what he needed for Christmas he listed a long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and a sweatshirt in any color but pink. As special gifts he would appreciate a large print King James version of the Bible and a baseball cap.

Story #17

Dreams of being financially secure ended for this family as the effects of the pandemic were felt in the Ozarks. Dad has begun his own lawn care business, purchased the necessary equipment, and was building up a list of clients. However, one by one his customers began to lose jobs, have fewer hours at work, and develop financial problems. Paying someone to care for their lawn was an expense they could no longer afford. Eventually Dad did not have enough clients to keep operating his business. For several months, while Dad searched for a job, the family had no income. Mother writes, “Our bills keep piling up and we don’t have money for the everyday things we need let alone Christmas. If we don’t get help my children won’t be able to have much of a Christmas. We would greatly appreciate anything. Thank you.” Dad has recently found temporary work that will help with overdue bills. He tries to remain optimistic that next summer he can try to re-establish the lawn care business.

A bicycle is the first thing on the wish list for the five year old girl. She also enjoys playing dress-up and would like some pretend makeup to complete her “princess look”. Little brother is two years old and a fan of Buzz from Toy Story and Garfield, the cat. Mother said he would be “happy with anything.”  Practical gifts needed are bedding for the children and clothing.

 

Story #18

This story is representative of the long list of families seeking assistance at Crosslines. They all have similar descriptions of how COVID-19 has impacted their ability to provide Christmas gifts for their children. Mother and Father are both working, but right now their combined income is $600 a month. Mother works twenty-five hours a week in food service at a local school. Dad, a server at a restaurant, depends on tips for much of his income. With the reduced numbers of diners in restaurants the amount he earns in tips is greatly reduced. A reference told Share Your Christmas about parents who are working very hard but can barely pay rent and put food on the table. They would be very appreciative of any assistance they receive.

Bicycles are the main gift two little girls would like for Christmas. A doll and a pretend doctor kit are other suggestions for the five year old. Two year old little sister also likes dolls. Play food, dishes, or pots and pans would be a nice surprise for a toddler who likes to cook for her dolls. The children are growing fast and need clothing, especially coats and mittens.

 

Story #19

“A very friendly lady who really likes to help where she can” is the way the care center staff describes this resident. This willingness to help others has been a part of her life for many years. She’s worked as a nursing aide and in food service. She grew up in Chicago and has happy memories of trips to visit her grandparents. One of the highlights of her adult life has been when her husband treated her to a night in a hotel. This lady likes to keep busy and, when not playing Bingo or Trivia, she knits and crochets. Clothing is her greatest need, especially warm pajamas, a robe and slippers. If possible, she would also like a coat and a watch. Treats she enjoys are Dr. Pepper, popcorn, and hard caramel candy.

 

Story #20

After many busy years, this older lady is enjoying the quieter pace of the care center. She writes that she likes knitting, playing Bingo and listening to classic country music. She also says she likes to nap, and after raising eight children that is probably quite a treat! Previously she was employed as a Certified Nurse Assistant, factory worker, and bookkeeper. Her childhood was spent in Idaho where she fondly recalls going to church each Sunday with her dad. She is needing a sweatsuit, sweater, and blanket. Crunchy Cheetos and peanut butter or cheese crackers are the treats listed.

 

 

Story #21

The phone call no parent ever wants to receive arrived at this home in mid-summer. A friend who lives in another city had heard on her local news about a home invasion, resulting in the death of several individuals. When she learned the address of the shooting and did not receive a reply to any of her texts, she feared one of the victims was her friend. Mother, Dad, and other family members immediately drove across the state to try to obtain more information. After many worrisome hours of waiting they finally received confirmation that their daughter was indeed one of the victims. She had been staying overnight with a friend and was a tragic example of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Fortunately her two children were staying with their grandparents and were safe. So many things have had to be dealt with since that day. There has been the expense of bringing their daughter home to Springfield for burial, attorney fees as they begin the process of getting legal custody of the grandchildren, and the costs of raising two children. Because Grandpa has hemochromatosis and has compromised liver function, the children are being homeschooled in the hopes the household can avoid contracting COVID-19. Purchasing the necessary books and other school material has been an additional expense. The children’s father has never paid child support and the mother had very few assets so no monetary help is expected. Grandmother works full time and is fortunate there have been no closures at her place of employment. Despite this, finances are tight and Grandmother has little emotional energy right now to think about Christmas toys. Help from a community donor would be greatly appreciated.

The seven year old girl has a My Generation doll but would like clothing and accessories to go with her doll. A doll house is also on her wish list. Her brother, age six, has a list of Paw Patrol toys he would like. A scooter so he has something to play with outside is another excellent gift suggestion. This will be an especially difficult Christmas for this family. Grandmother has suggested a Memory Bear to help the children cope with their grief.

 

Story #22

There is no doubt that caring for his three children is Dad’s main priority. He doesn’t leave for work in the morning until the children have had breakfast and are safely on the school bus, and is home to greet the children as they return from school in the afternoon. However, this short work day means Dad is, “living from paycheck to paycheck, choosing between food, rent, utilities, or other bills. There is just not enough money or time to work more.” Dad has not been successful in finding affordable child care. The children’s mother is not part of their lives and Dad’s extended family lives in another state. If a child is ill Dad loses work until the child can return to school. Dad says the few odd jobs he’s been able to find rarely pay more than the cost of feeding the children one meal. However, there are things the family is not lacking. Love and attention are in abundance. The children rarely watch television but spend their time playing outside, reading, or playing board games. Movie night is a favorite family tradition so Dad has suggested they would all enjoy something new to watch. He commented it was hard for him to list gifts for the children. “They’re just happy with what they have”. No doubt that attitude comes from Dad who said that despite his financial difficulties he is “lucky and blessed” to have such great kids.

The children in the family are a boys, ages ten and nine, and a girl age six. Beside movies the family would like a new board game and art or craft supplies. Toys to use outdoors would be good for the boys. Dolls and doll accessories are a suggestion for the girl. Coats and winter clothing are needed by all the children.

 

Story #23

After twenty-seven years of marriage this couple has shared both happy times and challenging times. Now they are sharing a room in the care center and feel fortunate to be together. Both grew up on Missouri farms and say that their favorite memories are of spending time with their family. Watching television and visiting with the other residents are currently popular activities. However, when it is time to play games this elderly lady is always ready to compete. Her husband prefers quieter activities and is content to just watch what is happening. The Share Your Christmas office has a list of clothing needed by this couple. They would also like some special treats such as a small clock, Cracker Jacks and soft drinks.

Story # 24

With just a little help from a donor who can provide toys and clothing for the children, this mom and dad are confident that by next year they will be in a position to help someone else. Both parents are full time students at Ozarks Technical Community College. Dad will graduate in December with a degree in Biological and Clinical Sciences and hopes to be employed in that area soon. Mother is working toward a degree in social work with an emphasis on children in foster care. Both hope to continue their studies at Missouri State University. To supplement their income, Mother had been working at various jobs. When the pandemic hit the restaurant where she was working closed. She then took a position as a food delivery driver. In July, while stopped at a red light, her car was rear ended. Since the accident, Mother has needed therapy multiple times a week to alleviate pain in her back. Until she completes this course of treatment the insurance claim cannot be settled. Currently the family is using student loans to pay basic household bills. Both parents are hoping to soon be employed and able to begin paying off the loans. In the meantime their priority is taking care of the necessary expenses, leaving no funds for Christmas toys or winter clothing for the children.

The two older children in the family, boys ages six and seven, would like bicycles for their large Christmas gift. The seven year old is a fan of super heroes, especially Spider-man. Mother says the six year old would like “anything with trains”. Little sister is three and would also like a bicycle. Baby dolls and play make-up are additional gift suggestions.

 

Story #25

A short drive across town turned life upside down for this single mother. Prior to this Mother was working as a restaurant manager, paying her bills on time and taking care of her son. However, on a summer evening her car was T-boned, causing only minor injuries to her son but severely injuring her. She was flown to University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, for extensive surgery. Her hip was shattered and as she writes, “is pretty much all nuts and bolts”. During surgery she went into cardiac arrest and lost oxygen to her brain, was in a coma for weeks, and still has repercussions from this. Eventually she was able to be transferred to Rusk Rehabilitation Hospital for intense physical therapy. She’s now home in Springfield, but is struggling to stand or take steps with her walker. Her mother has come from Montana to stay with her and help care for her son. She’s applied for disability but doesn’t know when that might be approved. She sums up her situation by writing, “Point blank, I’m unable to work. My bills are stacking up. But above all I cannot provide Christmas for my son. I can’t even get him a winter coat so I’m reaching out. I just need help this season. Please.”

While Mother is concerned about a winter coat for her son, the seven year old is more interested in toys than clothing. He would like Minecraft Legos or figures and a Nerf gun. His bicycle helmet was crushed in the accident and Mother has asked for a replacement for that plus some knee pads. The family has not begun receiving food stamps so a gift card for groceries would be very welcome.

 

Story #26

“She is funny, cranky and lovable all rolled into one” is the way the care center staff describes this ninety-three year old lady. For most of her life she’s been a hard worker, helping on the farm as a child and working in a laundry to support her children. Favorite current activities are watching television and talking on the telephone. She is needing pajamas, a sweatsuit, sweater, and underwear. Her vision is not as acute as it once was so the word search book she’s requested will need to be large print. Chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies and fun size candy bars are other treats she would like.

 

Story #27

While growing up on a reservation in South Dakota, this eighty-six year old man developed a love for Native American music. He enjoys listening to music and, when his health permits, he likes to share his musical talents with the other care center residents. Memorable moments from his past are the time he fortunately met someone who helped him learn English. By being able to communicate better he was able to find employment on the railroad and in a zipper factory. This friendly gentleman has requested very little for Christmas. Cream soda and rice krispy treats are the gifts he would like.

Story #28

It’s obvious when speaking with this family that COVID-19 has had serious consequences for them. Dad was infected in September and was still coughing so much at the end of October it was difficult for him to talk on the phone with Share Your Christmas. Both Mother and Dad had been unemployed early in the year due to health problems, and were just returning to work when businesses closed due to the pandemic. After many more months of unemployment, Dad had just found work when he contracted COVID-19. He’s hoping the job will be waiting for him, but the position is in retail sales and he must be completely well before he can return to work. Through a temporary work agency Mother has found a job at a manufacturing plant. As the only wage earner in the family right now, she is always worried about layoffs or more closures. Right now all of Mother’s pay check must go to pay overdue bills as well as rent, utilities and groceries. Without help from donors they will not be able to provide Christmas gifts for the children.

Both children, a boy age nine and a girl age twelve, are fans of Amiibo and have character figures they would like. The daughter has learned to sew on a toy machine and would like a “real” sewing machine so she can continue to develop this skill. Both children like board games and Greedy Granny or Toilet Trouble have been suggested. The house they are renting is not well heated. They have asked for warm clothing for the children and blankets for their beds.

 

Story #29

On her application for holiday assistance this single mother of four boys wrote, “After having my youngest son last year his dad left shortly after he was born. I had to stay with relatives and went back to work less than three weeks after having my son. I was left with nothing. I worked extremely hard to get a car. I got promoted and was finally able to get my sons and me into a place in February of this year. In March I ended up losing my job (due to COVID-19 at the daycare my children attend).  I worked extremely hard trying to find a new job during this pandemic and finally got one in July. I’ve been trying to catch up with …bills, car repairs, and childcare fees. Unfortunately I will be unable to provide my children anything for Christmas”. Since Mother wrote this her problems supporting her family have continued. Recently her car was badly damaged when someone ran a red light. Luckily no one was injured but her car may not be repairable. While she waits for an insurance payment she has no way to get the children to childcare or herself to work. Currently food stamps are the only income for the family. A reference for Mother said, “She’s such a hard worker but is really having a rough go right now”.

The older boys in the family, ages seven and eight, are interested in cars, Pokemon, and Minecraft. Paw Patrol, Baby Shark, and “anything that makes noise” were Mom’s suggestions for the three and one year olds. Winter clothing for all the boys is needed; diapers and wipes for the one year old would be appreciated.

 

Story #30

While wearing a pair of Elvis glasses, this older lady likes to seat herself near the door so she can greet each care center staff member as they arrive for work. It’s her special way to show appreciation to those who help her each day. She also likes to share pictures of her grandchildren and tell stories about growing up on a farm and fishing in a nearby creek. When not busy greeting the staff or visiting with the other residents, she likes to listen to music and solve puzzles. A country music CD and a large print word search book would be appropriate treats for her. She is needing a sweatsuit, pajamas, pants, shirt, and underwear.

 

Story #31

Just about anything western in his Christmas box will please this older gentleman. As a boy, he enjoyed riding horses and, after serving in the United States Air Force, he began a career as a bull rider. At the care center, he enjoys reading western books and listening to country music. For clothing, he would like a western snap style shirt. Additional clothing needs are a sweatsuit, pajamas, and slippers. He has a beard and would appreciate an electric razor with beard trimmer.

 

 

Story #32

When Mom and Dad both lost their jobs earlier this year they decided to return to Missouri where they had previously lived. They purchased a twenty-four year old recreational vehicle to use both for travel and as a home for them and their three young children. Upon reaching Springfield Mom found employment while Dad, who has orthopedic problems, is caring for the children. Unfortunately they returned home one evening to find the RV on fire. Household items, clothing, toys, bedding, and other items were either burned or so filled with smoke and soot they couldn’t be salvaged. Initially the family stayed with friends until they received assistance from the American Red Cross and could move to a motel room. Mother said she got very discouraged when hunting for a rental house took many weeks. However, eventually they were fortunate in finding a house that was partially furnished. With a very limited income it has been difficult to replace household items. Dad said they couldn’t have done that without the generosity of so many people. “God has blessed us entirely with good friends”, he said.

Most of the children’s toys were lost in the fire and that has not been a priority when so many practical items needed to be purchased. Seeing gifts under the Christmas tree will be especially exciting for these youngsters. The oldest two, a boy age five and a girl age three, would like bicycles with training wheels. They enjoy imaginary play so a small tent and dress-up clothes could lead to many pretend adventures. For the two year old sister a Little People dollhouse with furniture is suggested. She would also like a baby doll with extra clothing. Practical gifts include clothing for the children and any cleaning or hygiene product.

 

Story #33

When told her family would be receiving Christmas assistance through Share Your Christmas, this single mother was very grateful. This was one less thing for her to worry about. Mom is employed at a convenience store but her hours have been reduced due both to COVID-19 and to the remodeling being done at the store. With this reduced income it is a struggle to provide for her three children and her mother. Grandmother lives with the family and has multiple health issues including breathing problems and a permanent colostomy. Grandmother has filed for disability but is still waiting on a decision. In the meantime Mother must pay for all the colostomy supplies. The family receives food stamps but no child support. Mother writes, “We are living paycheck to paycheck and pinching every penny possible to get the necessities for our home”.

The oldest child in the family is a fourteen year old girl. Mother says she is beginning to experiment with makeup and suggested some eye shadow and bright nail polish as something her daughter would like. A Karaoke machine is the large gift she requested. “We’re a big football family, especially Kansas Chief fans, so something sport related” was Mom’s suggestion for the boys, ages twelve and nine. A game for the Wii would be a nice family gift. Practical items the family needs are blankets and laundry baskets.

 

Story #34

Instead of listing various clothing needs this older lady wrote, “The only thing I would really love are muumuu dresses”. The care center staff added a note telling Share Your Christmas that she also likes caramel candy, sour gummy worms, and orange crush soda. Before health issues required her to retire she worked in the kitchen of a Springfield hospital for fifteen years. She tells us she spent a lot of time with her grandmother when she was a child. Whenever it rains she remembers how she and Grandmother would sit outside on the porch and watch the drops splash on the sidewalk and lawn. Now she enjoys spending time playing games on a computer or her phone.

Story #35

This gentleman has spent much of his life outdoors and, at age ninety, still prefers to be outside in the care center courtyard rather than the residents’ lounge. He spent eleven years in the military reserves and worked in construction, frequently for telephone companies. Since he likes to be outside whenever weather permits, the staff said he really needs a warm coat, hat, and gloves. A blanket for his bed and a long sleeved shirt are other requests. Popcorn, chocolate bars and cookies are listed as the treats he most enjoys.

Story # 39

When Mom and Dad were both furloughed from their jobs during the pandemic shut down, they thought this was the biggest challenge they, and their thirteen year old son, would experience during 2020. However, a phone call in early October completely changed their world. A cousin, in a southern state, had three month old twins and couldn’t care for them properly. She wanted them to be raised by someone who would love them and see they received the medical treatment needed. Mom and Dad immediately drove hundreds of miles to pick up the children, taking one of the twins directly to the hospital when they arrived back in Missouri. This twin was born with unilateral cleft lip and palate and, due to problems feeding, was failing to gain weight. This baby is now out of the hospital and with Mother’s care is being fed correctly and is gaining weight. As soon as he is big enough they will begin the series of surgeries needed to repair his cleft lip and palate. Mother says, “We went from one child to three children in a matter of hours. It’s turned our life upside down and I couldn’t be happier.”

Adding two children to the home will require financial sacrifices. Currently Mom and Dad are receiving unemployment but that will run out soon. With babies to care for Mom will not be able to work outside the home. They are facing legal fees as they seek to formerly adopt the twins. Any baby equipment they had for their older son had been given away long ago, so they are needing help with basic supplies. Mother would especially like to have a double stroller. She needs to take the twins to many medical appointments and that requires trying to manage two baby carriers plus diaper bag. A Bumbo chair would also be helpful. “Diapers! I can’t believe how many diapers those babies use every day” was Mother’s comment when talking about the gift list. With all the attention given the babies it is important the older boy is not left out. He would like cowboy boots and a game for the PS4. As for the parents, Mother says the best Christmas gift has already arrived…”although some sleep would be nice”.

 

Story #40

The Share Your Christmas team has found we are always smiling after visiting with this single mother and hearing about her three sons. She obviously enjoys them immensely and says, “Boys are just so much fun”. The oldest is ten years old and likes anything to do with science or technology. He attends the Springfield Public Schools program for gifted children and is excited about what he is learning there. The middle son is seven years old and Mother describes him as her “outdoor boy. He loves animals and is so gentle with them.” He would like to be a park ranger when he grows up. The youngest boy, age four, is Mother’s helper. He likes to pretend he is cooking, cleaning, or assisting with whatever the job may be. And if he is helping Mom he must be a very busy boy, because Mother has an exhausting schedule. She works full time in a church office, taking the boys with her on days they are scheduled for virtual learning. After the boys are settled in the evenings she can concentrate on the work required for her classes at Ozarks Technical Community College. Eventually she hopes to transfer to Missouri State University and complete a degree in Communications. In addition to all this, she occasionally supplements her income with cleaning jobs. She says she balances all this by being organized and making her boys the top priority for her time. This is the first time Mother has asked for holiday assistance but this year it is needed. “My budget since the divorce (last year) has been pretty tight and though I am able to make ends meet with the help of budget planning, planning extra for the holidays has been difficult. I would appreciate any help and thank you for considering my application.”

Bicycles, the large gifts requested for the three boys, have already been donated. Additional gifts they would like are Pokemon cards, Legos, and books. Winter clothing and underwear are needed for the children. Laundry detergent and any hygiene or paper products are always needed in a home with three active boys.

 

Story #41

Apparently this eighty-eight year old lady was a tomboy growing up. She talks about living in the country, playing with her brothers, and “sneaking over the fence and riding the neighbor’s horses”. The staff report they know when she is enjoying herself because she has a delightful giggle. When not visiting with the other residents she likes to color, attend devotions and read her Bible. Clothing requests include a sweatsuit, long sleeved t-shirt, pajamas, and slippers. Adult coloring books, colored pencils and a pencil sharpener are the treats she would like.

 

 

 

 

 

Story #42

After growing up in a small eastern Missouri town, this gentleman served four years in the United States Navy. After his military service he began working for a company that assembles portable buildings. However, what he misses most about living in a care center is not work, but that he can no longer drive his ’68 Camero. He currently finds pleasure in listening to Steve Perry music, sitting outside when weather permits, and visiting with the other residents. His financial support is very limited so he has a longer list of needs. The clothing requests are for underwear, shirt, pants, robe, and slippers. He also needs hygiene products and, if possible, a blanket for his bed. Chocolate candy and Dr. Pepper are treats he enjoys.

Story #43

$120 a week unemployment benefits plus food stamps are not enough to provide for the needs of a family of five. However, since the loss of Dad’s job due to the pandemic the parents are trying to make this income cover their living expenses. The family is relatively new to the area, moving here from Florida when Dad was offered a job in Springfield. Although it had taken several months for the children to settle into new schools and for Mom and Dad to adjust to being far away from other family members, they were beginning to feel at home in the Ozarks. But then changes due to COVID-19 began. Instead of Dad spending his day at work and Mom filling her time with caring for the children and their home, both Mom and Dad are spending hours each week searching for jobs. Mom said it is typical for the two of them to put in almost twenty job applications a week as they look for employment. To further stress the family, job hunting was curtailed for over three weeks as Mother and their nine year old son battled severe cases of COVID-19. Dad was needed at home to care for the sick family members, plus was quarantined and unable to schedule job interviews. Mother commented that with no family or friends close by, no jobs, and not enough funds to return to Florida they just feel “a bit stuck”. She notes that so many other families are also struggling this year and says, “Any help for our family would be truly appreciated. Thank you so much.”

Besides the nine year old boy, there are two girls in the family, ages seven and twelve. The older girl is a typical middle schooler, requesting makeup and jewelry for Christmas. A gift card so he can select a game for the X box and a big blanket to wrap up in while he plays games are on the wish list for the only boy in the family. Little sister would like art supplies and Hatchimals. Mother said since they came from a much warmer climate the children especially need winter clothing.

 

Story #44

Losing a job due to the pandemic has had one positive impact for this single mother of two children. When her position in food service was terminated in March, Mother spent time thinking about her future and setting some long term goals. She realized that she wasn’t a person who could be content just sitting at home. She also knew that food service is hard work and that she wouldn’t be able to tolerate the walking and carrying large trays for very many more years. So at age forty-six she decided to become a college student. She is currently enrolled at Ozarks Technical Community College taking general education requirements and setting a goal of transferring to Missouri State University to complete her degree. Proudly she told Share Your Christmas that her grades are all A’s and B’s, except for a C in a math class. On her application for holiday assistance she wrote, “Because of my age I don’t want to drag it out so I’m going full time and trying to make do with what financial aid I get and as little loans as possible. Money is tight! My amazing kids understand that Christmas will be slim this year. They have been so supportive of my decision to do this even if it means we struggle for a while”.

The sixteen year old girl likes to shop for her own clothes and would be happy to find gift cards in her Christmas stocking. Art or craft supplies and makeup are also on the gift list for this teen. The ten year old son had a drink stand this summer and earned enough money to purchase a Switch. He would like a new game for the Switch, a science kit or Legos. As a special request Mother said they really need a desk and would welcome one that is gently used. Currently Mother and children are taking turns using a TV tray for homework.

 

Story #45

After serving for six years in the United States Navy medical corps, this lady began working for a national restaurant chain. She continued in this position for over thirty years until health issues caused her to retire. She writes this about her life, “I have survived a lot of traumatic events and learned to overcome them. I am an artisan and love art.” Her gift list reflects how important art is to her. She has requested leggings with “crazy colors” and a robe in “cool colors”. She would also like colored pencils, a drawing pad, and Coca-Cola.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story #46

Childhood Christmas celebrations have provided this older lady many happy memories. She likes to recall the visits to her aunts and uncles for a large family gathering. When asked about other happy events she laughs and tells about the time she saw her mother being kissed by Festus from the television program Gunsmoke. Having worked most of her adult life in home health care and as a secretary for a Savings and Loan Company, this lady still likes to keep as busy as possible. She helps the staff with activities, reads, colors, and watches television. Since her income is very limited she is especially in need of clothing, including a long sleeved shirt, pants, sweater, underwear, and slippers. Treats she would like are colored pencils, an adult coloring book, and a CD of 50’s or Big Band music.

Story #43

$120 a week unemployment benefits plus food stamps are not enough to provide for the needs of a family of five. However, since the loss of Dad’s job due to the pandemic the parents are trying to make this income cover their living expenses. The family is relatively new to the area, moving here from Florida when Dad was offered a job in Springfield. Although it had taken several months for the children to settle into new schools and for Mom and Dad to adjust to being far away from other family members, they were beginning to feel at home in the Ozarks. But then changes due to COVID-19 began. Instead of Dad spending his day at work and Mom filling her time with caring for the children and their home, both Mom and Dad are spending hours each week searching for jobs. Mom said it is typical for the two of them to put in almost twenty job applications a week as they look for employment. To further stress the family, job hunting was curtailed for over three weeks as Mother and their nine year old son battled severe cases of COVID-19. Dad was needed at home to care for the sick family members, plus was quarantined and unable to schedule job interviews. Mother commented that with no family or friends close by, no jobs, and not enough funds to return to Florida they just feel “a bit stuck”. She notes that so many other families are also struggling this year and says, “Any help for our family would be truly appreciated. Thank you so much.”

Besides the nine year old boy, there are two girls in the family, ages seven and twelve. The older girl is a typical middle schooler, requesting makeup and jewelry for Christmas. A gift card so he can select a game for the X box and a big blanket to wrap up in while he plays games are on the wish list for the only boy in the family. Little sister would like art supplies and Hatchimals. Mother said since they came from a much warmer climate the children especially need winter clothing.

 

Story #44

Losing a job due to the pandemic has had one positive impact for this single mother of two children. When her position in food service was terminated in March, Mother spent time thinking about her future and setting some long term goals. She realized that she wasn’t a person who could be content just sitting at home. She also knew that food service is hard work and that she wouldn’t be able to tolerate the walking and carrying large trays for very many more years. So at age forty-six she decided to become a college student. She is currently enrolled at Ozarks Technical Community College taking general education requirements and setting a goal of transferring to Missouri State University to complete her degree. Proudly she told Share Your Christmas that her grades are all A’s and B’s, except for a C in a math class. On her application for holiday assistance she wrote, “Because of my age I don’t want to drag it out so I’m going full time and trying to make do with what financial aid I get and as little loans as possible. Money is tight! My amazing kids understand that Christmas will be slim this year. They have been so supportive of my decision to do this even if it means we struggle for a while”.

The sixteen year old girl likes to shop for her own clothes and would be happy to find gift cards in her Christmas stocking. Art or craft supplies and makeup are also on the gift list for this teen. The ten year old son had a drink stand this summer and earned enough money to purchase a Switch. He would like a new game for the Switch, a science kit or Legos. As a special request Mother said they really need a desk and would welcome one that is gently used. Currently Mother and children are taking turns using a TV tray for homework.

 

Story #45

After serving for six years in the United States Navy medical corps, this lady began working for a national restaurant chain. She continued in this position for over thirty years until health issues caused her to retire. She writes this about her life, “I have survived a lot of traumatic events and learned to overcome them. I am an artisan and love art.” Her gift list reflects how important art is to her. She has requested leggings with “crazy colors” and a robe in “cool colors”. She would also like colored pencils, a drawing pad, and Coca-Cola.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story #46

Childhood Christmas celebrations have provided this older lady many happy memories. She likes to recall the visits to her aunts and uncles for a large family gathering. When asked about other happy events she laughs and tells about the time she saw her mother being kissed by Festus from the television program Gunsmoke. Having worked most of her adult life in home health care and as a secretary for a Savings and Loan Company, this lady still likes to keep as busy as possible. She helps the staff with activities, reads, colors, and watches television. Since her income is very limited she is especially in need of clothing, including a long sleeved shirt, pants, sweater, underwear, and slippers. Treats she would like are colored pencils, an adult coloring book, and a CD of 50’s or Big Band music.

Story #47

At an age when most dads are tossing footballs around the backyard with their sons or taking their daughters on picnics, this young father is unable to do any of those things. Last year Dad found out he had heart failure and was hospitalized for several weeks while a pacemaker was implanted and his condition was stabilized. Since then there have been multiple changes in medication as doctors try to find the best treatment. Dad is unable to work and, after months of waiting, was recently approved for disability. Mother writes, “During that time I was struggling to keep our large family afloat. I had a baby, so during this time I was on maternity leave. …COVID has affected us all. I’ve struggled the majority of this year to pay our bills and be able to get the babies the things they need like diapers and wipes. My husband’s situation hasn’t improved and I’m still the only one able to work. I’m unable to cover the cost of the holidays and ensure we will have a roof over our heads afterwards”. Mom is currently employed at a fast food restaurant but is working only twenty hours a week. One of Mother’s former employers said, “They are a young family that just keeps getting knocked down. They certainly deserve something good to happen this Christmas.”

In addition to toys and clothing for the children, the family needs practical gifts such as blankets, laundry detergent, diapers, and wipes. The oldest child, a boy age eleven, would like a bicycle and headphones. A scooter and soap making kit are Christmas wishes of the seven year old girl. The youngest members of the family are girls, ages two and almost one year old. For the two year old Mother suggested an easel; littlest sister needs a front facing car seat. She is receiving therapy to help her learn to walk and would benefit from a toy that encourages her to exercise her legs.

 

Story #48

After reading this mother’s story, Share Your Christmas felt someone in the community would like to help this family with the warm clothing and special care products the girls are needing. Here is the family situation as mother relates it: “I am a widow with two teenage girls who are newer to Missouri. We moved up before the new year for a fresh start and to be close to a friend who is in need. We have no family here for support and we only know my friend here. It literally took all we had to move and find a place to live. Just when things were settling for us the pandemic hit. For teenagers it is hard to be the new kids in town to begin with, so making friends and then having to be home all of the time really depressed them. Due to their very serious auto-immune diseases they are both full time virtual students this school year. Just as with most everyone, life has really changed and limited our financial options. They don’t need much but please consider helping them prepare for this winter as we are originally from a hot southern state. It’s been nice for them to get to explore nature paths and lakes here so we thank you all for that. Seeing them smile again and laugh is the best medicine. They are independent and skilled, so they draw, sew/mend clothes, make jewelry, build/fix things needed, bake, and play fun games. If you see another family who has really struggled this past year and has little kids then help them first please. A small Christmas is nothing for us and we know having a roof over our heads and a bed to sleep in is a blessing in itself. Thank you.”

As mother mentioned, the girls need winter clothing, including coats and gloves. Due to health issues the sixteen year old is constantly cold and would like a twin sized electric blanket. Earrings and supplies for jewelry making are other gift suggestions. The fourteen year old would like headphones, a curling iron and craft or art supplies. Because of allergies they are unable to use less expensive lotions, laundry detergent or paper products. Share Your Christmas has a list of the specific products they can use. Mother said a humidifier would help with the girls’ skin problems.

 

Story #49

Due to various health issues some of the care center residents are unable to tell Share Your Christmas much about themselves. They also have very modest gift lists. Receiving a box with their name on it at the Christmas party will mean so much. If you would like to provide a brighter holiday for one of these seniors please call the Share Your Christmas office, 866-8008 or email share@ccozarks.org.

Pete grew up in Arizona, worked as a janitor, and likes to help other residents by opening the door for them. For Christmas he would like underwear, deodorant, a sweatshirt, Dr. Pepper and Hershey’s chocolate.

Brian spent his childhood in Barstow, California, and earned a living helping in a kitchen and doing construction work. His gift requests are for lotion, a short sleeve shirt, slippers, Coca-Cola, and chocolate donuts.

Phyllis has lived in Springfield all her life. The staff members say she has a warm smile and likes to spend time coloring. She needs a coat and hygiene products. Dr. Pepper and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are her favorite treat.

Joseph is very quiet and stays by himself most of the time. He worked as a pizza delivery driver and helped his brother with landscaping. Sitting outside on pleasant days is something that brings a smile to his face. Underwear, deodorant, black slacks, Tropical Punch flavored kool aid, and a box of Russell Stovers chocolates are his complete Christmas gift list.

Robert remembers how exciting it was to play football for his high school team. Currently he likes to sit in the residents’ lounge and watch television. His Christmas requests are for pants, an alarm clock and chocolate bars.

Story #50

“COVID has hit us hard, like many other families this year”. With these opening comments Mother went on to tell the multiple ways the pandemic has impacted her family. Both Mom and Dad were working for restaurants and one by one they lost their jobs as their places of employment closed or reduced staff. Dad has recently found other work, but it is only twenty hours a week. Due to health concerns the parents have chosen to have their four children attend school on a full virtual schedule. Mother says that was a difficult decision. “There was lots to consider due to the money aspect. You can’t work if you’re at home with school work”. She also commented about the challenges of balancing four children with different teachers and different schedules. “I even serve the children lunch at several different times! she said.

However, the hardest part of the pandemic has been the way it has impacted their extended family. Both Mother’s grandfather and Dad’s father contracted COVID-19. Grandfather was unable to recover from the virus and passed away after being ill for several weeks. The family had additional expenses as they traveled to Kansas to be with him and later for funeral expenses. Dad’s father is slowly recovering but is still unable to work and suffers from effects of COVID-19. Mother concludes her application for assistance by writing, “We would be so grateful if our kids could get Christmas this year. We remind them that Christmas is a time of being with your family, and that gift is priceless, but I can’t help but think that my kiddos would benefit just from something small given to them. Thanks so much!”

The children are boys ages eight and six, and girls ages seven and four. Two of the children have outgrown their bicycles. However, Mother understands that bicycles may be difficult to find this year and has provided alternate gift suggestions. The older son would like a learn-to-draw book on Pokemon and a scooter. Anything JoJo Siwa will please the seven year old girl. Traditional toys like Lego sets for the six year old boy and dolls for the four year old girl are on the toy lists. All the children need winter coats and gloves. Mother said, “We are blessed to have what we need for the house”, however she added that with four children, “laundry detergent and toilet paper are always in short supply”.

 

Story #51

Even without the threat of COVID-19, this single mother has had a challenging year. She recently went through  contentious divorce proceedings followed by major surgery. Her full time job ended in early summer and the combination of legal fees, medical expenses and no income caused her to finally resort to filing for bankruptcy. Recovering from all these setbacks has been difficult, but she feels she is beginning to make progress. She moved from a neighboring community to Springfield, and has been able to find employment. While she is glad to be using her training as a phlebotomist, the office where she is working can offer part time work only. She has had to replace her ten year old car in order to transport the children to daycare and get herself to work. An expense she said required her to “use every dime I could find”. In addition to her three year old daughter, Mother is raising an eleven year old niece. The niece’s parents have chosen a life style that is not appropriate for a child and are currently homeless. Mother writes, “I have no other family in the state to help me with my niece but I am happy to care for her as I love her dearly.” Among the things Mother said she is grateful for is the excellent daycare the children receive at a local church. The youngest girl attends a toddler program and the older girl receives help with virtual learning on the days she is not attending in person classes. The closing sentences on Mother’s application read, “I have never been in this kind of need or position before and I am thankful for any help anyone could give me. I am hopeful that soon I will be back on my feet and can return the generosity in the future.”

The gift lists for both girls are quite modest. Suggests for the three year old are a play medical kit, stick on earrings, and a T-ball set. The eleven year old likes crafts and has requested melting beads, board games, and anything with a panda on it. Mother’s only requests were for a crib sheet, laundry detergent, and paper products.

 

Story #52

Living in a care center is not going to keep this former beautician from keeping up her appearance. She never misses a chance to have a manicure at the Fancy Nails sessions, participates in the Stronger Longer exercise classes and keeps her mind active by crocheting and playing Bingo. When asked about favorite memories she said the day she got married and “one year for Christmas someone dressed up as Santa and he gave me my favorite pair of mittens. They were fur!” While fur mittens aren’t on her current Christmas gift list, she does have other things she would like Santa to bring. A sweat suit, warm robe, and a shirt are practical gifts; soft cookies, Ritz crackers, and chocolate peanut clusters are the special treats.

 

Story #53

After a quiet childhood growing up on a farm, fishing in local ponds, and playing with friends living nearby, this gentleman set out to see more of the world. He served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and later earned a living as a truck driver. He says that the best part of being an over the road driver was traveling from state to state, seeing so many different parts of the country. He is now living in a local care center and enjoys quiet activities like watching crime programs on television and joking with the other residents. He definitely likes snacks and all his requests for special gifts are for sweet treats. Clothing needs include a sweat suit, flannel shirt, pajamas, slippers and underwear.