Mom, kids could spend Christmas out in the cold

Dec. 21—Editor's note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or organization who could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need.

A local mother and her three kids are likely to run out of limited funds for a hotel room just in time for Christmas.

The family has no car, no home and cannot afford to provide basic necessities. Five-year-old twins are badly in need of dental work and, adding insult to injury, the family will lose all of their worldly possessions if they can't quickly figure out how to afford a storage unit.

Receiving help from advocates with Head Start, which serves the twin boy and girl, the family has received a small amount of help with hotel vouchers but, Head Start advocates say, is in dire straits.

The mother, whom caseworkers describe as extremely persistent in supporting her family and creating safety and consistency for her children, is looking for a job during the day so she can be with her kids at night.

She currently has a hotel voucher for the next week but does not have a guaranteed roof over the family's heads beyond that point, filling her own head with worries of eviction right around Christmas Day.

Their biggest needs are hotel vouchers so they can stay housed during this transition — and during freezing winter temperatures. Another big wish would be a storage unit to keep all of the family's belongings safe during various transitions. A laptop could really help mom and the young teen with schoolwork and job hunting.

Additionally, even with food benefits, the family struggles toward the end of the month because they lack a refrigerator or place to cook, requiring them to buy food every day.

For clothing, the 5-year-old twins could use warm winter shoes — girls' size 11 and boys' size 12. The teen wears size 11 men's shoes. For transportation, a bike for the teen would be very helpful.

For presents, the twin girl likes Disney's Elsa, and the twin boy likes "Ryan's World." If he could wish for anything special, the teen boy would love an Xbox360.

Financial assistance would be the biggest help at this time, but the family would be very grateful for any type of donation to make life a little bit easier and a little bit warmer.

Head Start offices will be on winter break from Dec. 16 to Jan. 2. For more info, or to donate to help this family, call Shanice Stringer at 541-301-8875.

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