2013 Good News Case Summaries

Posted: Nov. 12, 2013 2:40 pm Updated: Nov. 28, 2014 7:15 pm
More than 200 adults and children from communities throughout The Quincy Herald-Whig circulation area will be impacted by the 2013 Good News of Christmas campaign. Donations to the Good News of Christmas will be used to buy gifts and household items needed by the families served. Churches, businesses, families, individuals and civic groups interested in adopting a specific Good News family are asked to call the United Way of Adams County at (217) 224-1223.

Case #1: A cancer diagnosis has had a significant impact on this family of six. Dad lost income due to reduced hours because of his cancer treatments. Mom put college courses on hold to reduce the financial burden on the family, but is left with a student loan. At the same time, the familyís main vehicle needs a repair to get it running again. Spring rains caused a flood in the basement, which ruined a main living area and left mold behind. All of these challenges make it difficult to maintain basic needs much less to even think about Christmas.

  • Wish List:  Having their vehicle repaired and the mold addressed in their home tops the big needs for this family. The childrenís wish lists include books, Play-doh, Monster High and La La Loopsie dolls and clothes.

Case #2: ADOPTED The birth earlier this year of a special needs baby with an incurable disease has placed an emotional, physical and financial burden on this family. After many difficult months, the baby died in October. Dadís job provides the familyís main source of income. Mom has been unable to work due to her own health issues and was focused on the care of the baby and her other young child. Frequent trips to pediatric specialists out of town depleted the familyís savings, which they wanted to use to purchase a washer and dryer and new tires for their primary vehicle. Both Mom and Dad overcame homelessness and troubled pasts. They are committed to making a better life for their family. 

Case #3:
With two children and a third baby due in the spring, this family is doing their best to meet their basic needs on Dadís income. Mom is completing college classes online with a goal of becoming a therapist or counselor. They own a small home, which needs repairs to the roof, and they are facing the challenge of making room for the baby. Several of their appliances are not fully functioning and they anticipate significantly higher utility bills for heat this winter

  • Wish List:  This familyís biggest need is for a new stove and washing machine. Ceiling fans to better circulate the heat would help lower their utility costs. The family could also use new linens for the beds. Their young son loves anything John Deere and trucks of all kinds. Their daughter would love to have an acoustic guitar, a jewelry making kit and art supplies for painting.

Case #4: This single mom of two works part-time and recently moved into her own home after completing a temporary shelter program. Mom continues to seek additional employment that will help her manage her budget while also allowing her time to be involved in her childrenís school and church activities. Her oldest child is deaf and uses assistive devices to hear. Mom is an active participant at school so that her child can be as successful as possible. The case manager for this family writes that Mom is proactive to seek help for her family, but only when she is unable to resolve the problem herself first.

  • Wish List:  Tires for their vehicle are a critical need at this time. Mom has also asked for window coverings for the home. Both Mom and her daughter would love new bikes and her young son would like a remote control car and light-up Legos. The daughter would like a trumpet so she can join the school band. Clothing is also a need for each member of the family.  

Case #5: The challenge of raising a child with significant behavioral issues has been a struggle for this family of four. Several agencies to provide treatment and counseling and both parents participated in a parent education program to help them provide more consistency for their daughter. The school reports the child has a remarkable improvement this school year. While the family is responsible with their finances and has no outstanding debt, managing on one income is still a struggle. Involvement in the Good News program gives them something to look forward to this holiday season.

  • Wish List:  A refrigerator and electric heater are greatly needed. Mom requested a sewing machine and Dad would like new guitar strings and steel toe work boots. In addition to warm winter clothes, the childrenís wish lists include a bike, a tricycle, puzzles, coloring books, and Tonka trucks.

Case #6: Mom and Dad have taken in two children after their families were unable to care for them. The youngest child, born to a drug-addicted mother, has severe lung and upper respiratory illnesses. The teenager comes from a difficult family situation and has new hope of leaving a troubled past behind. Dad maintains steady employment but wages are low and there are no benefits. Mom was working as a home health aide but is currently unemployed. Both adults have health challenges. The family uses local food pantries and second-hand stores to make ends meet.

  • Wish List:  The parents have asked for a dresser, bed, bedding and so their oldest child can have a fresh room of her own. Items on the childrenís wish list are a cake decoration set, perfume, a make-up box, race cars, sports toys, books and art supplies.

Case #7: ADOPTED This single mom and teenage daughter are making a fresh start after leaving a long-term relationship that involved abuse. Mom is looking for work, but right now the only income is due to her daughterís disability. They rely on public transportation and do their best to make ends meet. Support from Good News will help them establish their home and give them encouragement as they make better choices for their future.    

Case #8: One day at a time is the philosophy of this single mom, whose life has been impacted by domestic violence as a child and prescription drug abuse as an adult. Her drug habit led to drug theft and ultimately resulted in a long-term ban from a profession she loved. After completing a treatment program, she found a job through an employment service agency and is moving forward with her young daughter. Her mother is also in the home.      

  • Wish List:  A bed with Hello Kitty bedding, a new washer and dryer, a bike for the child, a coffee maker for grandma and a gift card for a haircut and highlights for mom top the wish lists for this family. 

Case #9: ADOPTED After the death of a family member, Mom recently returned to the area with two small children. She secured full-time job and manages a very basic budget without any child support. She relies on public transportation to get the children to daycare and get to work. The case worker writes that Mom is a strong, dependable woman who is committed to teaching her children good Christian morals and being a role model for them.         

Case #10: Dad works nights and weekends. Mom has three jobs. Together they support their family of five children, one of which has a neurologic disorder that also requires extensive therapy. They are working to pay off student loans and several outstanding medical bills, which leaves little left for extras. Being part of the Good News program will help make this a memorial holiday for the entire family.

  • Wish List:  Fans of Duck Dynasty and Phineas & Ferb, the oldest children in this family also like softball and would love new clothes. The younger boys like Thomas the Tank and Spiderman. The children would like games they can play together. Dad has asked for a cordless drill and Mom would love have a basket of goodies to pamper herself. 

Case #11: ADOPTED Education is the key to a better life for this single mom with two young boys. Mom is currently employed with a long-term care facility while she takes classes to pursue a career in nursing. One of her children has a medical condition that requires regular hormone injections. His aide at school assists with daily tasks. In spite of a limited support system, Mom manages to balance her classes, her family and her work with determination and optimism. 

Case #12: Momís job with a long-term care facility supports this family of four. Dad stays home with the coupleís infant and older child to save on day care expenses. Transportation is limited and the couple has been told their rental home is now for sale, which means they may be forced to move. They no longer have a phone due to the cost. Thankfully, family and friends help with rides and use of a phone when needed. Life is a juggling act for these parents, who are trying to become more self-sufficient.

  • Wish List:  Mom has requested warm winter clothes and developmental toys for her infant daughter. Big sister likes Tinker Bell, Taylor Swift and monkeys. She is also in need of clothes. Mom could use khaki or black pants and shoes for work. Dad needs jeans and a Carhartt type winter coat.

Case #13: Completing community college courses tops the to-do list for this single mom and two of her children. All three are attending school. Mom will graduate in May and hopes for full-time work in her field. The older children also work while attending school. A third will finish high school this year. With a history of homelessness, this family has weathered many challenges to reach a point where they have a stable home and are planning for their future.

  • Wish List:  All four members of the family need warm bed linens. Work clothes are also a critical need for these nearly adult children. The family also needs a new refrigerator. Blessings from the Good News will support this family on their journey to financial stability.

Case #14: Their adult childís chronic drug problem has left these grandparents as the primary caregivers of three young granddaughters. Although their home is small and they continue to work full-time jobs, Grandma and Grandpa are doing their best to provide a loving, stable home for the children. The house needs repair to make the environment more comfortable for the family as the children grow.    

  • Wish List:  All three girls need bedding, winter coats and boots. The older girls like Hello Kitty and anything princess related. The toddler would enjoy a riding toy to move around the house. The house is in need of some new carpeting and electrical repairs to worn wiring.

Case #15: Completing her nursing education next fall will be a lifetime achievement for this single mom of four. She has been working part-time while going to school and is thankful for the support of family and friends as she balances work, school and her childrenís needs. Mom has cut back as much as possible, but knows the sacrifices now will be worth it in the future.

  • Wish List: The family would benefit from a laptop they could use for school work. Dishware, cookware and bath towels are needed. The little boys in this family love Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, Spiderman, Jake & The Neverland Pirates and John Deere tractors. They both need winter coats and snow boots. Both older children would like gift cards to the book store. One would also like a jewelry box and jewelry making kits.

Case #16: ADOPTED A relationship devastated by domestic abuse and sexual violence has left this Mom on her own with a small child. She is currently enrolled in college and works several part-time jobs to support her family. In spite of the personal struggle of the past relationship, Mom is determined be a positive role model for her daughter.

Case #17: ADOPTED A medical crisis has reduced this dual income couple to one income to support a family of five. Doctors discovered a mass on Dadís brain and he is unable to work at this time. Frequent trips to an out-of-town specialist only add to the financial burden. Even with help from family members and friends, the family had to take a personal loan to cover basic expenses. Facing an uncertain future, Mom and Dad are finding it hard to think about making Christmas special for their three young children.

Case #18: Mom works full-time while also coping with her own serious medical issues. She supports a teenage son. She relies on public transportation and manages a very basic budget that does not allow room for any extras. She does not have any outstanding debts.

  • Wish List:  Mom would love her son to have a new bed and the family could use a small couch or loveseat. Other items on this familyís wish list are a camera, video games and new shoes and coats.

Case #19: Behavioral issues within the family and concerns about overall safety in the home led Mom to reach out to local child welfare agencies for help. Now, members of the family are receiving needed counseling and treatment to build healthy relationships. In spite of a limited income to support their family of six, Mom and Dad have made adjustments to cover the ongoing cost of therapy without accumulating any outstanding debt for basic needs.

  • Wish List:  A desktop computer that could be used by the whole family tops their Good News wish list. The children asked for Lego kits, a Battleship game, Monster High dolls and playsets, a LeapPad with games, hair accessories for the girls and clothes for all.

Case #20: The death earlier this year of Momís long-term companion, who was also a father figure to her three children, has been devastating for this family. As they continue to grieve from this loss, Mom anticipates having to move from the home she shared with her companion. Supporting the family on her income alone is proving to be very difficult, but so far she has managed without incurring any outstanding debt other than her car loan.

  • Wish List:  Bunk beds and bedding are needed for the two youngest children. The oldest child would like a bike, a race car video game and gift cards to the movie theater. Both girls would like American Girl size doll clothes, jewelry, long-sleeved shirts and jeans.

Case #21: ADOPTED Life turned upside down for this family following Momís cancer diagnosis earlier this year. Surgery to remove four tumors and follow-up radiation treatments have prevented Mom from working, require multiple trips to out-of-town specialists and limit her ability to care for two young children. Dadís income now supports the family. He has experienced health issues himself and has lost time from work while supporting his wife through her treatments. They await further testing regarding the possible spread of Momís cancer. Such uncertainty casts a cloud over the upcoming holidays.

Case #22: ADOPTED Two siblings blended their families to share expenses and support each other because of significant health issues faced by the adults and children in the family. Dadís income barely supports this nine member family that includes six children under the age of 5. Mom stays home to care for the children and assist Dadís sister who experiences seizures on a regular basis.

Case #23: This single mom of six recently secured stable housing after living on the brink of homelessness. She works as a personal assistant but hours are limited due to need to be home to care for her young children not yet in school. No support is available from the fathers of the children so she manages on her own. Establishing their home is Momís top priority as she makes a plan for supporting her family in the future.

  • Wish List:  Bunk beds and bedding for the children and a kitchen table with chairs for each member of the family are a critical need. All of the children need clothes and have asked for age appropriate toys they can enjoy together.

Case #24: ADOPTED This mother of four is starting over after escaping a relationship broken by domestic violence. She has secured a safe, stable home and has applied for temporary financial support for the family. She is working with local agencies to receive needed treatment for her children and be connected to other resources as they adjust to life on their own. The support and encouragement she has received since relocating to the area gives Mom great hope for her familyís future.

Case #25: This widow opened her home to care for her six great-grandchildren to prevent them from being separated in the foster care system. She has returned to work part-time to supplement her Social Security income, but finds it challenging to afford the basics for the children that range from teenagers to a toddler. She is thankful for friends who help drive the children when she is working. Going from living alone to now raising active children has created many challenges for this great-grandma, but she is committed to keeping the children together and providing a loving home for them.

  • Wish List:  The familyís home needs extensive repair from paint and drywall work to flooring and kitchen cabinets. They also have a dishwasher that needs to be installed. The children have beds, but need adequate bedding. The childrenís wish lists include art supplies, an acoustic guitar, a sled, action figures, Hot Wheels, a baby doll and puzzles. All of the children need clothes, winter coats and shoes.

Case #26: This single mom of two is unable to work due to chronic illnesses. Small daily tasks are extremely difficult depending on her level of pain. Mom is applying for disability and has no income since her child support payments have stopped. Although she lives rent-free in a home owned by another family member, the relationship is strained. Her support system is very limited.

  • Wish List:  The family vehicle is in desperate need of new tires. Kitchen basics and bed linens are also needed. Outdoor toys, hand tools and a fishing rod and reel are on the sonís wish list. He would also like work boots, coveralls and a hooded sweatshirt. The little girl likes Hello Kitty and would like a monogrammed notebook, a doll and activity books to prepare her for school. Mom would enjoy easy meal cookbooks and a Joyce Meyer devotional book.

Case #27: ADOPTED Chronic health conditions create daily challenges for this single mom of three children. Momís employment has been sporadic because of time off from surgery and follow-up treatment. One of her twins, who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, also had surgery earlier this year requiring Mom to take medical leave again. Another child receives regular therapy and treatment for a behavior disorder. All of these challenges make life a constant struggle. Mom is thankful for the support of family members and friends who provide extra hands when needed.

Case #28: This family of four is struggling to start over after they lost much of their belongings in a house fire. Currently living in a temporary location, they hope to return home soon thanks to the help from their community to repair the home. Dad is self-employed while Mom cares for their toddlers.

  • Wish List:  A new bed with bedding, couch and recliner are big ticket requests for this family as they replace items lost in the fire. The little boys would enjoy outdoor toys, books, puzzles and age appropriate games. They both need new clothes.

Case #29: ADOPTED Unstable employment, unpaid child support and childrenís medical issues requiring trips out-of-town have placed large financial burdens on this mother of three. Focused on getting back on her feet, Mom is actively seeking full-time work so she can provide for her family. Her van with over 200,000 miles needs new tires. She needs to get current on several past due bills in order to maintain a safe, stable home.

Case #30: Dad works in construction but doesnít get steady hours. His income and Momís disability are all that supports this family of four. They are trying to replace many belongings ruined in a house fire and struggle to meet their basic needs. With little support from extended family, they are on their own to provide for their children.

  • Wish List:  The family needs new living room furniture and curtains for several rooms in the home. The little boy loves Tonka trucks, John Deere tractors and Spiderman. The little girl likes to play with baby dolls. Both children would enjoy books and need new clothes. Mom and Dad need jeans, t-shirts and socks.

Case #31: ADOPTED Mom and Dad are both working to support their family of six. They have two children with special needs who both require trips to out-of-town specialists. Last Christmas, they were coping with the recent death of their infant who had multiple health problems. They are managing a very basic budget with no outstanding debts. Mom is attending classes for a career in the health field with hopes of providing a more stable financial future for the family.

Case #32: Mom is a child care worker with two children and a premature newborn. She is a hardworker and provides for her family on just her own income. Her unpaid maternity leave just before the holidays places a financial burden her ability to provide anything extra for Christmas. She has taken on two personal loans to cover basic needs while she has been off work. Repaying these debts will be a priority once she returns to work full-time.

  • Wish List:  The oldest child likes Monster High and Hello Kitty toys and games. She would also like a DVD player and some movies. Her brother likes robots, transformers and Power Rangers. Both children need clothes and winter coats. Basic baby items are needed for the infant. Mom could really use a stroller and lots of diapers.

Case #33: ADOPTED Dad worked two jobs and Mom worked one job to make ends meet for this family of four. When Dad had emergency heart valve surgery earlier this year, the loss of income was catastrophic. For the first time, they had to seek local resources for basic need bills as well as take out several personal loans. They have cut back as much as possible and are accepting help from friends so Mom can take on more hours at work. They have not seen the end of the financial strain of this health crisis and there is nothing left for Christmas for the children.

Case #34: ADOPTED A series of back surgeries for one parent followed by extensive dental work for one child has impacted the financial stability of this family of five. Both parents are now working to support the family and Mom recently completed classes to advance her career in healthcare. They are facing one challenge at a time and trying hard to cover their basic needs. The primary vehicle needs repairs, which is critical since Momís job requires considerable travel.

Case #35: This family of seven has recently secured a stable home after nearly six months of living at various hotels and in campsites. Grandmaís Social Security and disability income received for one of the children provides the only source of income. Mom and Dad are trying to find work, but developmental delays of the children make it difficult for Mom work outside the home. Establishing a safe, consistent home for their family is the immediate focus.

  • Wish List:  A washer and dryer would be helpful for this large family. They also need kitchen items to prepare meals at home. The oldest child would like Monster High and Barbie dolls. Her brother likes dinosaurs, bugs and Scooby Doo. The twin boys like cars and trucks. All the children, Mom, Dad and Grandma need new clothes.

Case #36: Severe mental illness prevents this single mom from keeping a job that can support her two children. The family receives temporary case assistance, which allows them to have stable housing. Mom is working with local mental health services to get her mental illness under control and is in the final stages to take her GED test. Mom is hopeful that with her GED and continued mental health treatment she will be able to return to work soon.

  • Wish List:  New bikes are the only thing on the wish list for the two children. The family relies on public transportation so new bikes will allow them to get around easier. Mom and both of the children need clothes and shoes.

Case #37: Mom works two part-time jobs to support this family of four, who are currently living in a one bedroom apartment. Dad cares for their children Ė an infant and a pre-schooler. They are looking for a two bedroom apartment, but finding an affordable place that is also near the city bus route has been a challenge. A larger home is the biggest need for this family.

  • Wish List:  Both little girls need winter clothes. The older child loves My Little Pony and the Littlest Pet Shop. Developmental toys would be wonderful for the baby and she also needs a high chair. Mom needs black trousers and dress shirts for work. Dad needs a large winter coat and tennis shoes.

Case #38: ADOPTED This single mom of two is on the road to a better future for her family. She completed school and secured a stable job with the opportunity for advancement. The family no longer relies on income support, but their budget is very tight due to day care expenses while Mom works. She is also trying to resolve an outstanding debt so that she is able to maintain her monthly budget.

Case #39: A house fire earlier this year was a total loss for this family. Mom is starting over with her two young children and a nephew she is raising because his mother is unable to care for him. She her full-time job at a grocery store supports the family. She is thankful for the help of friends and family who watch the children while she works. Mom is looking into earning her GED so she has more options for employment.

  • Wish List:  The family needs a dresser, pots and pans, utensils and bed sheets for the boys. The older boys would like a LeapPad with games they can play with together. One likes art supplies and Transformers. The other would like a firefighter outfit, a drum set and building blocks. The little boy needs 18- 24 month clothes and would like bath toys and a truck with sounds and lights.

Case #40: After raising her own children, this grandma is now raising a grandson. Her income is limited so she has turned to local agencies for help with school supplies, food baskets and utility assistance to make ends meet. In spite of the financial challenges, Grandma provides a loving home that has allowed her grandson to do well in school and be involved with their church. He assists Grandma with her wheelchair when they shop for groceries.

  • Wish List:  Grandma has asked for a mattress for her grandson, a computer to help with schoolwork and a desk for his room. He would love a sled, Lego kits, snow boots and a winter coat.

Case #41: ADOPTED A chronic illness has led to many challenges for this single mom with a toddler. She has been out-of-work since late winter and is no longer receiving child support. Mom was able to complete a medical training course and is seeking full-time employment in the healthcare field.  

Case #42: As the sole caregiver for her severely disabled child, Mom is unable to work due to his special care needs. The family relies on disability benefits and help from a rent assistance program to meet their basic needs. Daily tasks are a struggle, but Mom manages to provide for her son with love and tenderness.

  • Wish List:  Mom has asked for internet access at their home so they can get full the benefit a special communication device used by her son. She would also like a crock pot and a coffee maker. Her son would like a bigger fish tank to keep his Beta fish separated.

Case #43: ADOPTED Dadís place of employment closed and he has been unable to find work. Momís two jobs now support this family of five. After several moves when they were unable to pay rent, the family is trying to regain stability with their income and housing. The caseworker for this family said both parents are involved in the childrenís education and are committed to helping their children succeed in school. 

Case #44: Two young adults estranged from their families have started a new life together. He is a recent high school graduate and she will complete her high school education later this year. She would like to pursue additional education to work in child care. He has worked several part-time jobs, but lack of dependable transportation has made it difficult to maintain steady employment.    

  • Wish List:  They would like bicycles so they can get around town easier, which will help them find more dependable employment. Basic household items such as bath linens, cookware and cleaning supplies would be helpful. They both need winter coats, clothing and shoes.

Case #45: Dad lost his job right before the holidays last year. Since that time, he has worked ďodds and endĒ jobs while Mom also works part-time to help support the family. Both parents are seeking full-time work, but securing stable employment has been a challenge. They manage to stretch every dollar to make ends meet, but there is nothing extra to handle a much needed car repair or to provide anything for Christmas.  

  • Wish List:  The family car needs new tires. They could use a vacuum, blankets for the beds and a set of non-stick cookware. The oldest child would love a digital camera, arts and craft kits, hair accessories and skinny jeans. The youngest child would love a remote control car, the Croods DVD, wrestling action figures and Beyblades.

Case #46: A single mom of three is also helping care for a parent diagnosed with cancer. She has taken time from work to be there for medical appointments and treatments. The loss of income has put a strain on the familyís finances. Mom is trying to stay on track and has cut back as much as possible to be able to meet the childrenís basic needs.      

  • Wish List:  Dressers are needed for two of the children and a washer and dryer would help to reduce laundry costs. Bath towels and a new set of cookware are needed. The two oldest boys would like scooters and skateboards. The youngest child would like a remote control car. All three need new tennis shoes and jeans.

Case #47: ADOPTED A long-term employee at a local retailer, Mom experienced a significant health crisis earlier this year that resulted in several surgeries and time away from work. She is now unable to sit or stand for extended periods of time. She can only work a few hours at a time and is now filing for disability. Her only child will complete high school this year. With the support of family, friends and their faith community, this small family is doing their best to adjust to Momís limitations.

Case #48: This single mom has her hands full with three children Ė two of which have special health challenges. The oldest child has a communication disorder that requires constant support and supervision. Her baby, born prematurely this year, was hospitalized out of town for an extended period of time. Now home, the baby is still on an apnea monitor and Mom has had to perform CPR more than once to revive her. The challenging care-giving needs of her children combined with Momís own chronic pain, fatigue and depression make daily tasks difficult. Mom hopes involvement with the Good News program will bring much needed joy this holiday season.  

  • Wish List:  Bath and kitchen towels, a shower curtain and new pillows are on Momís wish list for the home. The oldest child would like a sing-a-long CD player and a LeapPad. His little brother would like the Little Tikes Lilí Blabberz Falfa character and Read with Me Scout. Both boys need jeans and winter coats. Mom would like developmental toys for the baby and she needs 9 month size clothes.

Case #49: This single mom is raising a teenage boy and is now also caring for her infant granddaughter. Until this year, she was managing on her own, but the ongoing health issues have had a major impact on the financial stability of the family. She has been on medical leave since early in the year due to the effects of a degenerative spinal disease. She is in the process of applying for disability. 

  • Wish List:  Her teenage son would like a fishing pole and a tackle box along with jeans and new shoes. The baby needs 18th month clothes and would enjoy developmental toys. Mom has asked for a new vacuum for the home and two dressers for the children.

Case #50: Mom lost her job in 2012 and was not able to find a job before her unemployment benefits ran out. Unable to pay her rent, she and her three children were forced into homelessness. She lived in a shelter and while there was able to secure a new job and ultimately has moved into stable housing. Through it all, Mom never lost her determination to make a better life for her family. They are looking forward to the holidays with new hope for a brighter year in 2014. 

  • Wish List:  Both girls would love to have Snuggie blankets, nail polish, art supplies, a board game and learning activity books for 4th - 5th grade. Their younger brother would like a baseball bat, ball and glove as well as a sports related electronic game. All the children need warm winter hats and gloves. Mom is establishing their home and could use basic cookware, dishes, towels and small kitchen appliances.

Things to Do

Sign up for Email Alerts