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Young mother and child need essentials

Editor’s note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or organization that could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need.

A 16-year-old new mother, this teen left home when her own mother announced she was “done” being a parent.

Two years of “couch surfing” with her baby daughter ended when the coronavirus pandemic hit, and the teen feared becoming ill in acquaintances’ homes. Cold, thin and frightened with nowhere to turn, she contacted Community Works, which placed parent and child in a Medford apartment.

Although stable and safe, the dwelling lacks basic housewares, and both the 3-year-old and her mother need winter clothing.

Since completing her high school equivalency this fall, the teen takes online courses through Rogue Community College while working part time. Weekly meetings with her caseworker promote self-sufficiency with instruction for budgeting and saving for the future.

Dreaming of becoming a nurse, the woman told her caseworker she would like to help others.

The teen’s own life was fraught with abuse, neglect and uncertainty as her mother used drugs and strangers stayed in their home. Never knowing her father, the teen sought refuge with a high school friend, who allowed her to stay on her family’s couch for a few nights, when the teen’s mother forced her onto the street.

Now that she has a bed, the teen needs full-size sheets and blankets. A women’s medium-size winter coat and sweater also would keep her warm. Her daughter needs cold-weather clothing and outfits, size 3T-4T. Grocery store gift cards would stretch the family’s meager income.

The mother earns enough to buy food and other essentials but little else. Ashamed to ask for help after years of childhood trauma, she dreams of giving her daughter a magical Christmas.

The girl would cherish a dollhouse or other toys appropriate for her age. Her mother enjoys reading self-care books and listening to soothing sounds.

To help, call Community Works, 541-779-2393, ext. 200.

Follow this year’s Light One Candle stories at mailtribune.com/news/light-one-candle/. See Sunday’s print and e-editions for the story of a single mother whose full-time work as a caregiver for elderly and disabled adults falls short of providing for her teenage son.