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. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need.
Warm blankets, colorful socks and opportunities to express their artistic sides would light the way for this trio during the holidays.
Teresa and her two young daughters are survivors of domestic violence. Her husband of two years became increasingly abusive both emotionally and physically to Teresa, whose children are from a previous relationship.
He controlled where she went and rarely let her take both kids with her.
He also became violent, punching and kicking Teresa, blaming his abusive behaviors on her being "broken and stupid," Community Works advocates say.
Teresa knew she needed help and reached out to her friend Becky, who told her about Community Works and gave her the number to call Dunn House (541-779-4357).
A domestic violence victim advocate listened to what Teresa had to say, and for the first time Teresa heard the words, "It's not your fault." She would tell her advocate later that simple sentence gave her hope.
A month later, Teresa planned her escape from her husband. She took the girls to the shelter, and while there she looked for housing and got some emergency assistance for rent. Eventually Teresa and the girls moved into a small house that her friend Becky helped her find.
It's been almost a year since Teresa left her abuser. She is working part time, and she and the girls are in counseling. Although there are struggles, Teresa says she feels blessed that she is able to live on her own and is growing stronger each day.
"I am grateful for the help I have gotten and hope to be able to help other women one day," Teresa told her Dunn House advocate.
This family could use a little help this Christmas, as they have much to celebrate, but Teresa has very little money.
They would like gift cards so they could get some photos printed and framed to make their home special.
Annette, 8, likes Littlest Pet Shop, skating, and wants to learn origami. She could use a snuggly blanket and some warm socks (bright colors). She also is interested in learning to cook.
Six-year-old Kayla likes arts and crafts and reading stories about animals. She needs a good backpack and would like a tea set.
Teresa enjoys poetry, can use new cookware and would like a gift card to take the girls to Kid Time! to play.
If you can help, call Gerry at Community Works at 541-890-2937.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or firstname.lastname@example.org.