EDITOR'S NOTE: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or agency that could use a helping hand during the holiday season. To see previous stories, go to www.mailtribune.com/holidayneed
Toys, clothes, blankets and more would help this formerly homeless family of five have a happier holiday.
This close-knit family, nominated by Kids Unlimited, recently moved to Oregon in search of better opportunities. They had many struggles along the way, including being robbed of their small amount of cash. They arrived in Medford homeless and hungry.
Mom, Dad and the three kids lived in their car at first.
As the older kids, Mike and Molly, went to school, the toddler, Maddie, stayed behind with her folks, who looked for jobs. At the end of the day, the sixth-grader and fifth-grader got back into the car and the family drove around the city looking for a safe place to sleep. Inevitably, they always came back to the school parking lot, where the family slept, huddled together in the back of the car. Although it wasn't the safest of neighborhoods, at least it was familiar.
This was their routine for a couple of weeks until the parents earned enough money for a motel room.
They then slept, ate and lived in one motel room. The parents told Kids Unlimited staff they felt blessed because it was better than the car.
Within a few weeks, the family earned enough money to secure a small rental house. The house is more than they can afford, but safer than a car. They gather food boxes from a few churches and stretch that out as long as possible. But the children often go hungry. They also struggle to buy diapers and to clothe everyone.
But no matter how dire their circumstance, this family is strong. The children are polite, study hard and earn good grades. The parents are always available to talk to and truly love their children.
Obviously, there is not a penny to spare for holiday gifts. So generous Santas are desperately needed. Mike, 11, would like Legos, a bike, size extra-large pants and shirts, and socks. Molly, 9, would like a jump rope, hair accessories (including a brush and a flat iron), and clothes in medium/large sizes. Maddie, 3, wears size 4T clothes and 5T diapers. She'd like a play cash register, play food, play grocery cart and a stuffed animal.
Dad and Mom want blankets for their children and for themselves, as well as some kitchen utensils and flatware. Dad would appreciate some socks, toiletries and men's undershirts in size medium. Mom could use a blow dryer and says the family would like to watch television together.
If you would like to help, call Carrie at Kids Unlimited at 541-774-3900.