Dreams of being financially secure ended for this family as the effects of the pandemic hit the Ozarks. Dad had begun his own lawn-care business, purchased the necessary equipment and was building up a list of clients. But 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 he searched for a job, the family had no income. Mom 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 recently found temporary work that will help with overdue bills. He tries to remain optimistic that next summer he can re-establish the lawn-care business.
A bicycle is the first thing on the wish list for the 5-year-old girl. She also enjoys playing dress-up and would like some pretend makeup to complete her “princess look.” Little brother is 2 years old and a fan of Buzz from Toy Story and Garfield the cat. Mom said he would be “happy with anything.” Practical gifts needed are bedding for the children and clothing.
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This story is representative of the long list of families seeking assistance at Crosslines. They all have similar descriptions of how COVID-19 has affected their ability to provide Christmas presents for their children. Mother and Father are both working, but right now their combined income is $600 a month. Mother works 25 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 these 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 5-year-old. Her 2-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.
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“A very friendly lady who really likes to help where she can” is the way the care center staff describe this resident. This willingness to help others has been a part of her life for many years. She’s worked as a nurse’s aide and in food service. She grew up in Chicago and has happy memories of trips to visit her grandparents’ house. One of the highlights of her adult life has been when her husband treated her to a night in a hotel. This woman 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.
After many busy years, this older woman 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. She previously 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 needs a sweatsuit, sweater and blanket. Crunchy Cheetos and peanut butter or cheese crackers are the treats listed.
Share Your Christmas
Share Your Christmas is the News-Leader’s and Crosslines’ annual campaign to give readers the opportunity to share their holiday spirit with others. This year, 30 families and about 80 care-center residents will have a brighter Christmas, thanks to Share Your Christmas donors.
Families and residential care center residents may be adopted by a single donor or by a group working together to help one of the larger families. Donors may adopt an entire family, one family member, donate a single gift or donate any amount of money. Every dollar helps. Readers who wish to donate gifts can call Share Your Christmas at 417-866-8008. Callers should refer to the story number they wish to help, and they will be given specific information such as clothing sizes.
Gifts must be delivered to the east side of the Crosslines building, at 615 N. Glenstone Ave. The hours to deliver gifts are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday through Dec. 14 and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 12. The final day for gift delivery is Dec. 14. If you are unable to deliver donations at these times, call 417-866-8008 to make other arrangements.
To make a monetary donation, send a check payable to Crosslines, Share Your Christmas, and the story number (if applicable) in the memo line. If the needs of that family or care center resident have been met and you are willing to help others in the Crosslines holiday programs, please write “or as needed” in the memo line. Donations can be made at http://crosslinesholiday.org/give/or mailed to Share Your Christmas, 615 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield MO 65802. Monetary donations are welcome any time of year.