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Family bouncing back from Almeda fire need warm clothes

Editor’s note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or organization who 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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A bittersweet homecoming heralded this family’s recent return to the mobile home park where they lost everything in 2020’s Almeda fire.

The replacement residence costs slightly less than the Medford apartment these parents had rented, but moving expenses took all the money they had left. Warm winter clothes for their five children — ages 2 to 12 — are imperative, and gift cards for gas and groceries would stretch their incomes.

Years of hard work and saving paid off when this family bought their first home, only for it to burn in the wildfire just a few months later. Relatives outside Southern Oregon sheltered them until they found an apartment in Medford. Then coronavirus quarantines drained the parents’ income. Their 9-year-old son with special needs has been in and out of hospitals.

Child mental health services and home visits from Medford’s Family Nurturing Center benefit this family, working with the organization for several years to “be the best parents they could be,” says Desirae Anthony, outreach and events coordinator. Gift cards or tickets for family activities would bring them joy.

They all need jackets, shoes, long-sleeve shirts, pants, socks and underwear. All the kids love books.

The 2-year-old boy wears size 2T/24-month clothing and kids’ size-6 shoes. He likes cars and “Paw Patrol.” Wearing clothing size 6/7 and size-1 shoes, his 6-year-old sister likes baby dolls, Barbie dolls and Disney’s “Frozen.” Also enjoying dolls while wishing for an electric unicorn motorcycle, the 7-year-old girl wears 7/8-size clothing and size-3 shoes.

Both drawn to superheroes and dinosaurs, the older boys — 9 and 12 — wear pants sizes 12 in boys and 38/32 in men’s, respectively. The younger one needs size-10/12 (medium) shirts and size-3-1/2 shoes while his older brother needs men’s large or extra-large shirts and size-11-1/2 shoes.

The kids’ father, 32, wears men’s size-34/32 pants, large shirts and size-10-1/2 shoes. The 27-year-old mother needs women’s medium shirts and size-6 pants and shoes.

To help, email Betsy Wright at betsy@rvfnc.org or call 541-210-4898.

Follow this year’s Light One Candle stories at mailtribune.com/news/light-one-candle/. See Friday’s print and e-editions for the story of an 18-year-old single mother attending school and escaping homelessness with help from Community Works.