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 family’s 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.
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. Dad’s job provides the family’s 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 family’s 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 Dad’s 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
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 children’s 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.
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.
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.
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 daughter’s 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.
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.
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: Mom’s job with a long-term care facility supports this family of four. Dad stays home with the couple’s 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.
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.
Case #14: Their adult child’s 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.
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 children’s needs. Mom has cut back as much as possible, but knows the sacrifices now will be worth it in the future.
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 Dad’s 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.
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.
Case #20: The death earlier this year of Mom’s 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.
Case #21: ADOPTED Life turned upside down for this family following Mom’s 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. Dad’s 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 Mom’s 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. Dad’s 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 Dad’s 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 Mom’s top priority as she makes a plan for supporting her family in the future.
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 family’s 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.
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.
Case #27: ADOPTED Chronic health conditions create daily challenges for this single mom of three children. Mom’s 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.
Case #29: ADOPTED Unstable employment, unpaid child support and children’s 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 doesn’t get steady hours. His income and Mom’s 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.
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.
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 Mom’s 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. Grandma’s 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.
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.
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 – 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.
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.
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.
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.
Case #43: ADOPTED Dad’s place of employment closed and he has been unable to find work. Mom’s 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 children’s 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.
Case #45: Dad lost his job right before the holidays last year. Since that time, he has worked “odds and end” 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.
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 family’s finances. Mom is trying to stay on track and has cut back as much as possible to be able to meet the children’s basic needs.
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 Mom’s limitations.
Case #48: This single mom has her hands full with three children – 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 Mom’s 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.
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.
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.