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Losses mount for split family

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 family that suffered the losses of home, work and health can’t heal while split between relatives in Medford and Ashland.

Panic attacks, anxiety, depression and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are evident in both the parents and their four children, said Susie Garcia, family resource center manager and volunteer coordinator for Kids Unlimited. Some fun diversions and family activities would improve their outlook until their living situation improves.

This family’s eviction from their rental home preceded the property owner’s decision to sell, said Garcia. While the parents search for suitable housing, the kids transition between their dad’s side of the family in Medford — where they can walk to and from school at Kids Unlimited — and their mom’s in Ashland, requiring hours of driving that limits family time.

Time spent outdoors appeals to the whole family, and the kids particularly enjoy hunting for rocks, metals and other “treasures.” Building sets would benefit the boys — ages 13, 10 and 8 — along with kits that advance science, technology, engineering and math skills for kids. Catching up academically after almost a year of distance learning has particularly challenged the oldest boy, who has a learning disability, says Garcia.

All three boys like playing video games and board games. Their 5-year-old sister prefers clothes and hair accessories.

Providing not only a home but daily necessities became more difficult when this family contracted the coronavirus, causing the parents to miss work. Recently changing jobs also taxed this family’s wellbeing and culminated in ailments that keep the 46-year-old father from working. The 44-year-old mother is employed in agriculture, and her hours and wages vary seasonally, said Garcia.

Gift cards for groceries and clothing would alleviate some of the family’s financial stress. Gas cards would cover some of the expense of commuting between Ashland and Medford.

To help, email Susie Garcia at sgarcia@kuaoregon.org or call 541-650-5831.

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 a single mother with two girls — Almeda fire victims — who relocated to a new trailer that they would love to furnish and decorate for the holidays.