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Girl worries siblings will go hungry

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.

This Medford High School student shoulders a heavy burden on her younger brother’s and sister’s behalf.

Working a full-time restaurant job, this 17-year-old worries her siblings will go hungry during winter break. Gift cards for groceries and some family-oriented activities would bring the holiday spirit into their home.

Seasonal work and more than one part-time job support this single-parent household, ailing since a layoff related to the coronavirus pandemic. Working 40 hours per week to help buy groceries and pay bills, the oldest girl has a late closing shift most nights.

Highly driven to continue her education, the teen participates in Rogue Valley Mentoring to chart her path after graduation. A laptop or gift cards to purchase one at Best Buy would support her plan to take online courses next school year.

The girl’s mentors asked after several meetings why she wore the same shirt every week. She replied the only other clothing she owned was the uniform for her job.

Plain T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, mittens and hats would benefit the girl, who wears size extra-large, her 14-year-old sister, who wears size large, and their 12-year-old brother, who wears size M/L. Gift cards to Fred Meyer, Target and Walmart would allow these kids who have never had the opportunity to shop for themselves to pick out some of their own clothes.

The siblings would love to play board games, do jigsaw puzzles and make crafts together. Paints and brushes, sketch books, scrapbook paper, embroidery thread and yarn would encourage their creativity, while young adult fiction and fantasy books would captivate their imaginations. They also could use school supplies and some snacks, particularly baked goods, which the boy loves.

Food insecurity, homelessness and exposure to drug use and domestic violence impact many participants in Rogue Valley Mentoring’s school programs, says development manager Adelaide Gadde. The organization’s circle programs are free and open to all teenagers.

To help, email Gadde at adelaide@rvmentoring.org or call 541-613-4746.

Follow this year’s Light One Candle stories at mailtribune.com/news/light-one-candle/. See Wednesday’s print and e-editions for the story of a family of six that fled sex abuse to a rural home without heat or a washer and dryer.