Dec. 2—LIMA — It's been a rough year for Sarah and her family.
The father of two of her four children — and the household's sole breadwinner — ran afoul of the law and is currently paying his debt to society.
Meanwhile, Sarah is paying the bills, relying on food stamps and child support from two of the kids' fathers.
Then, just when cold weather was beginning to loom in the not-too-distant future, the basement in Sarah's home flooded. There was a great deal of water damage, including to winter clothes that had been stored in the basement area.
"The water ruined a lot of stuff," the Lima woman said.
The stress of not having a male role model around the house, coupled with a basement full of waterlogged belongings, has taken its toll on Sarah. Making sure her children have a happy holiday season only adds to that feeling of despair.
"I signed up with the Salvation Army's program for the kids' sake," she said.
Sarah said clothing tops the list of needs for her three sons and her daughter. "Especially my oldest; he's growing out of everything it seems," she said.
The 8-year-old wears size 12 husky jeans, size 10-12 shirts and size 3 youth shoes. "He could also use a heavy winter coat, size 10-12," said Sarah.
Her 6-year-old son wears size 5-6 pants and shirts and size 13 toddler shoes, while the youngest boy, age 3, is a size 3-4T in pants and shirts and size 6 toddler shoe.
The youngest family member, a 2-year-old little girl, wears size 2T.
Sarah herself is size large for shirts and size 12 for pants.
When it comes to toys, Sarah's daughter isn't a big fan of baby dolls, but loves "anything that makes noise," says her mother. The youngest boy "loves puppies and anything with dogs — like Paw Patrol."
The two older boys are fans of Ben 10 and the action figures and games that are part of that Cartoon Network show.
Sarah said the family has few needs when it comes to household items — with one big exception.
"The biggest thing is our refrigerator; it's just not working right. The freezer isn't working."
Sarah, however, isn't a complainer by nature. While she's grateful for any assistance that might benefit her children during this holiday season, she's equally happy to live in a community that cares for its fellow citizens.