Food, clothing, diapers and other basic needs must come before toys and games for this desperate family struggling to survive abuse. Maybe Santa could also provide a local dentist to help a traumatized child retain her smile.
Last December, this young mother from an upper-middle-class family had the house decorated for Christmas.
Santa's gifts were wrapped and Jill was enjoying the season with her husband, little girl and infant son. Then her 3-year-old daughter shared the shocking news that her daddy was hurting her.
Terrified, hurt and in agony over what she'd learned about the husband she loved, Jill made the decision to protect her daughter and young son. They left the warmth and security of their home with only the clothing on their backs.
Over the past 12 months, this protective mother has gone from being homeless to living in a small apartment. She has worked diligently with local service agencies to get her traumatized daughter the help she needs. And she works a low-paying job trying to make ends meet.
Even though the pain remains, she acknowledges gratitude to those who have helped her work through homelessness, restraining orders, criminal court proceedings and her daughter's intensive weekly therapy sessions.
"This is a mom who's done everything right," said Daria Land, development director for CASA of Jackson County.
This holiday season, Jill needs the very basics.
Her daughter suffers from reoccurring nightmares, so Jill often sleeps on the floor next to her. The little girl grinds her teeth at night and there are no extra funds to have her teeth examined and fitted for a teeth guard.
Jill's car is in need of maintenance and new tires. Making a payment toward her utilities would help immensely. Gift cards for groceries, diapers in size 2T, clothing and gas are needed.
A few toys — maybe building blocks for the little boy, age-appropriate crafting supplies for the little girl — would also brighten their holiday.
And, if possible, mom could use a gift card for some new clothes.
To help this family, contact Daria at 541-734-2272 or at dland@JacksonCountyCASA.org.
Light One Candle focuses on an individual, group or agency that could use a hand during the holiday season. The series continues until Dec. 23. To see previous stories, go to www.mailtribune.com/holidayneed.