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MailTribune.com
  • Helpful family could use a hand with its troubled minivan

  • 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.
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  • 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.
    Five children rely on this single mother who works long hours late at night to feed them and heat their Medford home.
    To get herself to work and her kids to school, the 40-year-old woman relies on an old minivan that is on its last legs. Without an expensive repair, the van likely won't last through the winter, nor will the family's ability to make ends meet. A vehicle in good, working condition or gift cards to an auto-repair shop would give this hard-working mother hope for the new year.
    "The whole family is great" said Kris Walker, facilities coordinator at Kids Unlimited. "They are all such nice people — good people — take good care of each other and obviously care a lot about each other."
    The 12-year-old boy's work ethic impressed staff at Kids Unlimited this summer while he performed community service there. He lifted, hauled and swept up, all with an enthusiastic, good-natured yet polite, respectful demeanor, said Shey Yearsley, community development officer.
    The boy's efforts helped VIBES Public Charter School to open on time in August, said Yearsley. VIBES serves children in first through third grades at Kids Unlimited's Medford headquarters.
    The 7-year-old girl is a VIBES student, and her brother comes over often to help out and hang out. The family's other children include a 15-year-old girl, a 9-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl whose birthday is the day after Christmas. All the children need warm clothing and shoes.
    The family already weathered financial hardship this year when the mother, a federal employee, worked through the government shutdown although she was not paid on time, said Yearsley. That job would be at risk if her vehicle broke down.
    After reliable transportation, the mother wishes for toys and other children's items that would make the holiday happier.
    Kids Unlimited/VIBES welcomes any assistance for this family. Bring donations to the front desk, 821 N. Riverside Ave., or call 541-774-3900.
    Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 541-776-4487 or email slemon@mailtribune.com.
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