Gift of Christmas 2018
Gift of Christmas 2018
Brighten a life this Christmas! Sponsor an individual or family through the Gift of Christmas Program and make their season as joyous as yours! Many of the families served at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet rely on the generosity of our donors at Christmas to make the holidays bright. The following stories are the true stories of clients currently being served at Catholic Charities throughout the Diocese of Joliet.
To sponsor an individual or family this Christmas, simply choose the family and click HERE to donate. Or, if you’d prefer to call us with your donation, call Claudia at 815-724-1140. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
GIFT OF CHRISTMAS 2018 STORIES:
Elizabeth, 71 years old, was diagnosed with cancer this year and has endured severe pain and weakness as a result. Without close family members to help care for her, she relies on friends from church. As a very independent woman, Elizabeth is uncomfortable receiving help. A gift of $150 would help Elizabeth purchase a reaching device and new clothing (her clothes are much too large after losing weight due to cancer.)
Jason and Heather are a married couple with two children who have struggled with homelessness for over ten years. Heather has physical and learning disabilities that create challenges for obtaining and maintaining employment. Three years ago, Jason lost his job and the family became homeless. In March, the family moved into an apartment through Catholic Charities Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA) and Jason is working again. The family is thriving and looking forward to sharing Christmas together in their new home. A gift of $200 will provide a rug so the children can play on the floor, curtains for privacy in their apartment (currently no window treatments), a bed frame for the parents (who currently sleep on the floor), and a Christmas tree.
Maria is a strong and ambitious single mother with three children. After escaping from domestic violence, Maria has had a difficult time supporting her family. They live in a basement apartment and occasionally have gone without food. Maria is currently taking ESL and computer classes with the goal of obtaining a job that will better support her family. Your gift of $200 will provide this family with clothing, shoes, diapers, wipes, and baby bottles.
Vernon is a 38 year old Navy veteran and single father of a five year old son. After getting laid-off from his full-time job, he was only able to secure part-time employment. When he fell behind on his rent and utilities, Vernon and his son received an eviction notice. Thankfully, Catholic Charities was able to quickly help Vernon get caught up on his bills which allowed him to stay in his home. Vernon is working hard to obtain full-time employment so that he doesn’t fall behind again. A gift of $200 will provide clothing for Vernon and his son.
Sonya is a single mom raising five children. When Sonya was young, she was rebellious. However, after getting pregnant, she went info “mom mode” and grew up quickly. After spending years in an abusive relationship, she is currently working to rebuild her life with the help of a counselor at Catholic Charities. Sonya is in school to improve her professional life and better support her large family. A gift of $300 will help this family have a joyful Christmas with gifts of Barbies, learning toys, dolls, music, and sports equipment.
Multiple health issues (including diabetes, COPD, macular degeneration, and bipolar disorder) have created many challenges for 65 year-old Grace. However, she was still able to stay active and busy until she had a heart attack last spring. Now, Grace is unable to work and restricted from driving. She’s struggling financially and feeling discouraged. Although Grace is reluctant to ask for anything, your gift of $150 would help her buy food and clothes this winter.
Alexa is a single mother with four children who recently had to move back in with her parents for additional support. She struggles financially and often stands in long lines at food pantries in order to provide meals for her children. A gift of $250 will provide Alexa and her family with coats, hats, gloves, boots, and diapers.
Helen and her husband, both 78 years-old, are raising five grandchildren and having a very difficult time. They have experienced disconnection of utilities and have had occasions when there wasn’t enough food to feed their large family. These dedicated grandparents are determined to keep their home and care for the children. Your gift of $300 will help them purchase groceries, box fans for summer, and gift cards for gasoline.
Bree and her two young children have had a traumatic year. Over the summer, their home caught fire while they were inside. Although they escaped unharmed, this small family lost many of their belongings. Bree has been taking classes and is enthusiastic about working toward a nursing degree. Despite many life challenges, she maintains a positive attitude and loving spirit. A gift of $200 would provide Bree’s family with hygiene products, diapers, clothing, and books. And Bree also dreams of getting her girls the Christmas gifts they wish for: “LOL Surprise Toys” and anything with Elmo on it.
Art, 67 years-old, is described as “one of the kindest, warmest people you will ever meet. He brings joy with him wherever he goes.” He is legally blind, was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, and he suffered a stroke over 20 years ago that has affected his left side. Art can no longer drive, so he takes a bus to try to remain independent. This Vietnam War veteran enjoys telling stories and meeting new people. Art often goes without basic items because he’s uncomfortable accepting help. Your gift of $150 will help Art purchase house shoes, warm pajamas, and a coat.
Corrie just gave birth to a baby boy several weeks ago. This single mom is currently living with her stepfather and trying to find a job and reliable childcare. Although she has faced many hardships, Corrie never lets her children see her with her spirits down – she says that her top priority is protecting her babies through every situation. A gift of $200 would provide winter clothes, a bouncy seat for the baby, and Vampirina toys for the 6 year-old.
Madeline, 72 years-old, and her two disabled sons were displaced from their rental home during the flooding in Watseka earlier this year. After staying in a disaster shelter and a motel, they were grateful to find new housing. Unfortunately, most of their belongings were lost in the flood and they have been unable to replace most items because they live on a very low-income. Your gift of $200 would help this family purchase new household items, a recliner chair, and clothing.
Deena is experiencing a very challenging pregnancy with her fourth child. Severe anxiety has led to hospitalization, which left the rest of her family struggling with day-to-day life. The pregnancy is also considered high-risk due to other medical issues. Despite the stress, Deena has been working hard to strengthen her mental health, sees doctors weekly to monitor her baby, and makes special time to bond with her other children. The new baby is due at Christmas! A gift of $250 would provide clothing, pajamas, shoes, and kitchen supplies for this family.
Patricia, 57-year-old, is homeless and has struggled with both mental health and physical issues for most of her adult life. Constant physical pain triggers depression and anxiety. Patricia often talks about her wish to reestablish relationships with her children and to find affordable housing. She’s staying at Daybreak Center homeless shelter while she is on a waiting list for housing. Patricia has a strong faith in God and is ready to work hard for the self-sufficiency that she longs for. A gift of $150 will provide clothing and a blanket.
Nina is currently separated from her husband who is incarcerated. She is now raising their three teenage children alone, which is a challenge because two of the children have very serious health concerns. Nina misses work frequently to travel to Chicago for medical appointments for the children. The family can barely cover their mortgage and monthly bills. Nina and her family have suffered overwhelming life changes and trauma over the past year. A gift of $250 would help Nina afford essential items like gas cards, groceries and paper products.
Irie, 16 years-old, and her boyfriend are expecting a baby together. She is a sophomore in high school, but her boyfriend no long attends high school because he chose to get a full-time job to provide for his family. Now that he is expecting a new born on the way, he wants to make sure to provide for his family. This young couple participate in Catholic Charities’ Healthy Families Illinois and Doula programs to prepare for their baby. Your gift of $200 will purchase items for the baby, including diapers, wipes, and warm winter clothing.
Juanita and her husband Marc are expecting their third child during a very stressful time in their lives. Marc’s job at a landscaping company has ended for the season and he’s looking for a new job. The family recently moved to a smaller apartment to save money on rent, but it’s still difficult. Juanita’s pregnancy is high-risk due to diabetes and preterm labor issues. She plans to find a job as soon as the new baby is born. A gift of $250 would help the family cover some basic needs for the winter – warm clothing, boots, and blankets. They are also trying to find an affordable couch so the family has a comfortable place to sit and relax together.
Luke, 58 years-old, has been a constant presence in the Downtown Joliet area for 15 years. He has a kind word and a warm smile for everyone he meets. After ten years of unemployment, he started working with a Catholic Charities’ Employment Coordinator on job application and interviewing skills. With hard work, Luke secured full-time employment. He’s now in the process of looking for an apartment with another Daybreak Center client. The two men will be helped by Catholic Charities’ rental assistance to get started in their new home. A gift of $150 will help Luke purchase items for his apartment like dishes, pots and pans, and furniture.
Charles was attending college out of state when his baby was born. However, the young dad moved back to Illinois in order to be more involved in his son’s life and gained full-custody of the boy. Today, Charles attends a local university and works full-time. His young son goes to Catholic Charities’ Head Start. Charles is a great dad who is very involved with his son’s education. Your gift of $200 would help Charles provide a bike for his little boy this Christmas in addition to board games and other toys.
Kim is a pregnant single mother and her children’s father is currently incarcerated. She is a domestic violence survivor who works very hard to care for her three young children. Kim is focused on the wellbeing of her children and is very involved at their Head Start center. Your gift of $250 will help Kim afford much-needed maternity clothes for herself, warm clothing for her growing children, and a car seat to keep the new baby safe.
Latasha is a young, single mom who is pregnant with her second child. She was working full-time, but recently had to stop because of complications with her pregnancy. Latasha is also a college student who is focused on earning a degree and working toward a better life for her small family. Currently, she only has enough money to pay for rent and utilities. A gift of $200 will help Latasha prepare for her new baby boy – she needs diapers, wipes, a car seat, pots & pans, and toys for her three year-old daughter (who loves Doc McStuffins and princesses).
Octavia is a single mother who is expecting her fifth child. Two of her children are in Catholic Charities’ Head Start Program and Octavia is in Catholic Charities’ Expectant Mothers Initiative. She has been struggling through a difficult pregnancy, including several surgeries. Travel and medical expenses have been very costly for this mother who lives on a low-income. She also recently began caring for her elderly mother. Octavia hopes to have a nice family Christmas after a tough year. A gift of $300 will help her afford cold-weather clothing, hygiene products, and items for the baby (who is due in January).
Paulina recently lost her apartment because of mold in the walls. The landlord gave her a week to move out of her house, so she was displaced along with her five children and her elderly mother. Without affordable options, the family moved into a small hotel room with no kitchen and some pest issues. Struggling to pay her bills because she has been spending money on hotel rooms and emergency supplies, Paulina has picked up a second job to make ends meet. Paulina continues to search for an apartment that she can afford and has room for her large family. Your gift of $300 will provide warm clothes for this family and food that can be prepared in a microwave (family has no access to a kitchen).
Rafaela became a guardian for her two young grandsons at the beginning of this year. She faithfully brings the boys to Catholic Charities’ Head Start and lovingly attends to all of their needs. Your gift of $200 will help Rafaela provide Christmas for her grandsons this year. She would like to purchase warm clothing, blankets, and books (she loves reading to them at night).
Samira and her two toddlers have lived in various places as they try to find a place of their own. The lack of stability in their living situation is difficult on the children – who both attend Catholic Charities’ Head Start program. A gift of $200 would purchase warm clothing for this family, blankets, and fixings for a special Christmas dinner.
When Kevin, 34 years-old, came to Daybreak Center, has been living in a forest preserve for several years. He has severe mental health issues with a history of extensive psychiatric hospitalizations, but didn’t want any form of mental health treatment. Kevin has made tremendous progress within the past year. He now has an apartment and has agreed to begin seeing a mental health professional. He is very grateful for the help he received at Daybreak Center. A gift of $150 will provide warm clothing for Kevin to stay warm as he walks wherever he needs to go this winter (walking is his only means of transportation).
Benjamin and his wife have two sons, one of whom attends Catholic Charities’ Head Start program. He works long hours to provide for his family and his wife takes ESL classes at the local community college. This motivated couple want to set a good example for their sons and display hard work and motivation. They are described as a particularly strong family unit with great values. A gift of $200 would provide clothing for the boys (who have grown a lot recently), a winter coat for Benjamin (who works outside and is often cold), and school supplies for the mom as she continues her education.
Susan and Thomas live on a fixed income and have had custody of two of their grandchildren since birth. This family lost their housing after a period of time without an income and are now staying at Daybreak Center. Thomas is determined to find housing as quickly as possible. A $200 donation would provide clothing for the family and toys for the children.
Teresa, her husband, and their four children struggle financially due to several issues. Her husband has a chronic disease which he isn’t receiving regular medical treatment for due to a lack of medical insurance. When his medical concerns become too painful, he has to be hospitalized. His medical bills are extremely expensive and will prevent this family from having any money for Christmas this year. A gift of $300 would provide Christmas gifts for this family.
Fran, 60 years-old, is an Army veteran who arrived at Daybreak Center after police found her staying in condemned sublet housing. Although she has worked most of her life and currently has a job, Fran has physical ailments in both legs, which limits her ability to walk to and from work (her only transportation). As a result, she’s only able to work two or three days each week and has a very low-income. Fran is on a waiting list for public housing and continues to have a positive attitude. A gift of $150 will provide Fran with supplies for knitting, which she finds therapeutic.
Wayne and his wife have struggled with mental health concerns, anger issues, homelessness, and losing custody of their daughter. Over the past two years, this couple has worked hard to overcome their many struggles and achieve their goals of a better life. They moved into an apartment in May and are now expecting a new baby. They are also in the final steps of regaining custody of their daughter. A gift of $200 will help Wayne and his wife prepare for their new baby with supplies, clothes, and toys.
Val and her two young children recently began a new chapter in their lives when the children’s father (who was the financial supporter) left the family. Val’s five year-old son has muscular dystrophy and autism. Her three year-old son also has muscular dystrophy. Neither child is verbal or potty-trained. Val is looking for employment with hours that will complement the children’s school schedule. She occasionally feels overwhelmed with all of her responsibilities, but continues to do ensure that her children’s physical and emotional needs are met. Both boys are students in Catholic Charities’ Head Start program. A gift of $200 would provide diapers, clothing, and a gas card.
Aaron, 42 years-old, and his 16 year-old son are homeless and staying at Daybreak Center. The father recently gained custody of his son, who hadn’t been attending school while under the care of his mother. The two became homeless when Aaron was injured and had to take a medical leave from work. This dedicated father has started a higher-paying job, enrolled his son in high school, and is determined to find a home quickly. A gift of $200 will help Aaron afford work clothes and travel expenses for his frequent trips out-of-state for court dates.
Whitney is a single mom with three young children. She works hard and goes to school for cosmetology. The children are always Whitney’s top priority. A gift of $200 will provide warm clothes, boots, and hats for the kids.
Edward, 55 years-old, had been living on the streets for many years before he arrived at Daybreak Center in March. He was finally ready to seek medical treatment for his congestive heart failure and to begin a journey to self-sufficiency. Today, his health is under control and he is eagerly searching for housing. Although Edward said that all he wants for Christmas is a home… your gift of $150 will help him buy some items for his apartment when he moves in.
Yvette is a single mom with a three year-old daughter who participates in Catholic Charities’ Head Start program. She is very active in her daughter’s education – volunteering in the classroom and attending parent meetings. Mother and daughter are very close – walking to school together each day. Yvette’s daughter also has a medical condition that causes extra challenges. A gift of $200 would provide Christmas gifts for the toddler, including educational DVDs.
Matthew, 8 years-old, and Doug, 10 years old, are the youngest of six siblings. Their parents are divorced and three of their siblings are on the autistic spectrum. Their mother is their primary caregiver and contact with their dad was recently cut off due to a criminal matter that he is involved in. This entire family struggles to get their financial needs met however; their support of one another and their ability to recover after tragic situations, has been remarkable. The children never complain and are very strongly bonded. Matthew and Doug both have vivid imaginations and love playing together. The boys are seeing a counselor at Catholic Charities to help cope with their complicated family situation. A gift of $200 would winter clothing, blankets, school supplies, and toys to share with their siblings.
Darrell and Monica have a four year-old son who is a student in Catholic Charities’ Head Start program. The little boy is extremely enthusiastic and loves going to school. Darrell is disabled from a terrible car accident that left him with limited mobility and is unable to work. Monica works full-time, but the family lives on a low-income. A gift of $200 would help provide clothing for this family, basic sanitary items, and food so that this family can have a big Christmas dinner.
Spencer and Mason have lived with their grandfather since their mother passed away several years ago from an accidental drug overdose and their father was incarcerated for selling illegal drugs. (He is still in prison.) Both boys are working hard to overcome their circumstances and make a better life for themselves than their parents had. They support one another and look to their grandfather to meet all of their needs. Their grandfather works full time but struggles with having enough money to provide “extra” things for the boys. The boys see a Catholic Charities’ counselor and are doing very well. A gift of $200 would help purchase school clothes, winter coats, and school supplies for the boys.
Adriana’s four year-old daughter started at Catholic Charities’ Head Start program as a very shy child, but has slowly started opening up and talking much more. Although there is no male figure in her daughter’s life, Adriana ensures that she fills both parental roles. She even attends the “Daddy Daughter” dance with her little girl at school! This mom works hard, but struggles financially. A gift of $200 would provide food, clothing, and household items.
Brandi is a single mom with two daughters in Catholic Charities’ Head Start program. She’s fortunate to have a strong family support system – she lives with her parents and her sister often picks the children up after school. Although she works full-time, Brandi still struggles to make ends meet and doesn’t have any barely has enough to cover her bills. A gift of $200 would provide winter coats, boots, and household items for this family.
Amani, Ayo, and their three children came from Nigeria and are participants in Catholic Charities’ Head Start program. Ayo works and Amani goes to school as she works toward her CNA. Their faith is very important to this family. The family is so grateful for the help they receive. In fact, when their five year-old daughter brought home much-needed donated clothes from school, Amani called the school thinking there must be a mistake. A gift of $250 will help this family purchase winter clothing, sanitary products, diapers, and food.
Megan and Sam have been struggling financially since Sam lost his job. With three small children at home, no source of income, and no means of transportation, the family is in a challenging spot. Despite their stressful situation, this family remains closely connected and make it a priority to prepare and eat dinner together each night. A gift of $250 will provide winter clothing and educational games for Christmas.
Jim and Michelle work opposite shifts so that one of them is always home to care for their three young children. Despite working hard and maintaining steady employment, this family continues to live on a low-income. A gift of $250 will provide winter coats, gloves, hats, boots, and games for the children.
Desiree is a single mother with a four year-old son and she’s also the guardian for her sister’s three year-old daughter. She is unable to work or drive due to medical. Desiree’s son has great attendance at Head Start and is always very happy and loves to be silly. He’s also very well-behaved and polite. A gift of $200 would help this struggling family have a nice Christmas, including magnetic tile toys, action figures, and kitchen toys.
Although Emily works full time at a local motel, she doesn’t make enough money to support her two children and struggles to pay for rent and daycare. Emily says that the most important thing she can provide for her children is an education, so she is diligent about make sure that both of her children attend school daily. Emily’s 13 year-old daughter is embarrassed to wear outdated and clothes that are too small – but the family simply cannot afford new clothing right now. Emily is concerned that the other children make fun of her children because of their clothing. A gift of $200 would help purchase clothing for the children and a winter coat for Emily.
Gia is struggling with guilt over having lost custody of three of her children. At the time, she was a very young mom who had substance abuse issues which eventually led to a period of incarceration. Today, Gia is married with twin daughters in Catholic Charities’ Head Start program. She wants desperately to regain custody of her older children and often cries when she talks about the situation. Gia’s daughters wear clothing that is too tight and coats that aren’t warm enough. A gift of $200 would provide clothing and coats for the three year-old twins.
Harmony, age four, is a student in Catholic Charities’ Head Start program who has been staying with a family member ever since her beloved mother was tragically killed this fall. Even under these extremely difficult circumstances, Harmony attends school each day and is being well cared for. The family is in great distress and has asked for assistance with food, clothing, toiletries, books (Harmony loves being read to), and dolls (her favorites are Barbies and My Little Ponies). A gift of $200 would help this little girl and the family who is caring for her take care of basic needs during this difficult time.
Jada is a single mother with six children and she does not earn enough money to cover the expenses of this large family. Her two year-old twins are in Catholic Charities’ Early Head Start program and Jada is enrolled in the Expectant Mothers Initiative to help with her newborn. This large family has many needs this holiday season. A gift of $300 would help to provide warm winter clothes, scarves, gloves, and hats for the family.
Justice is a single mother with two sons who also has custody of her four year-old niece. She is very involved in her niece’s life and education. Justice has expressed interested in working toward a college degree in social work someday. A gift of $250 would provide socks, clothing, and shoes to keep Justice’s niece warm this winter.
Katrina is a single mother with three children whose husband left shortly after she received a cancer diagnosis. She has been battling stage 4 breast cancer for the past four years and receives treatment almost every day. Due to her health, Katrina was unable to keep her full time job. Despite her treatment schedule, she manages to work a part time job and cares for her three children. When Katrina was asked about her Christmas wish list, she said that she only wants gifts for her children. A gift of $250 will purchase winter clothing (including coats) and a tablet so that her Yamilet’s Christmas wish list if adopted from a family, are only gifts for her kids – warm winter clothing, including coats. She wishes, if possible, for a tablet so that her 13 year-old daughter can use it for school purposes and doing homework.
Liliana works full-time as a restaurant server to support her four children. She has been struggling to pay her rent on time, pay utilities, and support her children financially since she divorced her physically abusive husband. A gift of $250 would help Liliana purchase warm clothing and twin-size mattresses for her children – who currently don’t have beds.
Victoria is a 24 year old single mother to her four year old daughter. Victoria was kicked out of her mother’s home when she became pregnant. At that time, her only option was to move in with her boyfriend and his family, which she describes as very toxic. When the couple broke up a year later, Victoria and her daughter became homeless and often stayed at shelters. Today, the pair live in an apartment through Catholic Charities’ Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA) and they’re doing very well (although still struggle financially). A gift of $200 would provide curtains, and winter items for Victoria’s daughter: snow boots, snow suit, hat, and gloves.
Lauren, Keith, and their three daughters thought that a hotel stay would be a brief interlude in between homes but the cost ended up using most of their money and they were unable to afford a new apartment. The family is currently staying at Catholic Charities’ Hope House homeless shelter as they work to save money. Both parents work and Lauren is due to have her fourth baby (a boy!) just before Christmas. They are both thriving at their jobs and looking forward to moving into their own apartment again. A gift of $300 will provide Keith with professional clothing for work, dolls for the three girls, and a stroller for the new baby.
Nicole and Todd struggle to find employment and no longer have a reliable vehicle. They live in a mobile home with their five children and are dreading a winter without a working furnace. Despite their challenges, this couple work well together, remain positive, and are very active in their church. A gift of $300 would provide a car seat for their 8 month old (who has outgrown his current seat), diapers, wipes, sippy cups, and floor mat.
June and Jon were renting a house where they lived with their 11 year-old triplet daughters. The owners of the house put the house up for sale and the family was required to move. Due to the household’s fixed income and medical needs, they were unable to find a new place to live. Jon has serious medical issues that prevent him from working and June cares for him and their girls. The family is staying at Hope House homeless shelter as they look for affordable housing. A gift of $250 will provide warm winter coats for June and Jon, and Christmas gifts (including art supplies) for the girls.
Yaz and her husband have two toddlers that present challenging behaviors for their parents. Yaz receives counseling services from Catholic Charities to help build her self-esteem. She is also seeking help to cope with her children’s behavior in a positive way. This mother is motivated to create the best home environment possible and isn’t afraid to ask for support and resources. A gift of $200 will provide winter clothing for the family. Also, the family currently has a very old sofa set with ripped cushions and the stuffing coming out. They would love to replace the old couches with something newer!
Niketa is a single mom with four young children (the oldest of whom are six year-old twins). The family shared a home with Niketa’s grandmother, but they were evicted when the grandmother passed away and they could no longer afford the rent. They have been living in motels since August, but desperately long for a stable home. Niketa is doing everything in her power to keep her children healthy and safe during this difficult time. A gift of $250 will help them afford winter clothing, boots, and personal items.
The apartment that Deb can afford for her family of seven is in need of major repairs and she’s been unable to get her landlord to help. Despite being very financially stretched, Deb extends her home to family members when they are in greater need. She is very involved in her children’s education. Deb is a survivor of domestic violence who is known for her giving spirit and is described as a resilient force in the lives of her children. A gift of $300 will provide clothing for her children (who are currently wearing clothes that are too small) and dishes. Deb’s family would also appreciate a loveseat or sofa-sleeper because there are not enough beds for all of the children in her apartment.
Jordan and her two daughters entered the Catholic Charities SHIFT Permanent Supportive Housing Program in 2013 after a period of homelessness. Jordan has both mental health issues and a developmental disability. She also had very low self-esteem, no driver’s license and was not working. Once in the SHIFT program, Jordan had access to a case manager, employment counselor, mental health counselor and psychiatrist. With this support, she started focusing on herself and improving her life. The family now lives happily in their two bedroom apartment where they no longer worry about where they will be sleeping each night. A gift of $200 would provide Jordan with a robe, winter coat (she doesn’t have one), bed sheets, dishes, and Bath and Body Works lotion and shower gel. Her daughters would like shoes, boots, beauty products, and clothes. The 14 year-old would love a gift card to go see a movie and the 8 year-old would love a Frozen doll for Christmas!
Raquel is a 36 year-old veteran of the US Navy and has almost five years of sea service. She has four children ages 9, 6, 6 and 3. The family recently moved to escape domestic violence. Living on a very low-income, Raquel has learned the art of couponing in order to afford necessities for her family. She has a positive attitude and her case manager describes her as an amazing woman. A gift of $300 would help provide Christmas gifts for this family, including pajamas, a science kit, puzzles, American Girl books, books about princesses, and more.
Nancy is a single mother who has been a Catholic Charities client since 2006. During that time, Nancy’s 22 year-old son has graduated from college and she’s very proud of him. Her teenage daughter is in junior high in a special program for children with autism. Her daughter also has a physical disability and will eventually need to use a wheelchair. Nancy’s goal is to be the best mom possible with limited financial resources. A gift of $200 will help this family purchase clothing, pajamas, socks, bedding, and cute shoes for Nancy’s daughter. (Extra requests: a Goodwill gift card and a McDonalds gift card.)
Alison is a 31 year-old military veteran and single mother to two young children. She is a domestic violence survivor who fled from her abuser. Alison is also a college student working toward earning a master’s degree in order to create a better life for her children. After losing her full-time job in August, Alison has struggled to pay her rent. Regardless of her struggles, this veteran maintains an extremely positive outlook on life and is doing everything she can to create a better life for herself and her family. A gift of $250 will provide winter coats and clothes for the children. Alison’s children also like superheroes, Paw Patrol, Daniel Tiger, Frozen, and Disney Princesses!
Maribel’s family is having a difficult year. Her husband, a veteran, struggles with addiction and other mental health issues. Maribel works to help support her family, but she currently cannot afford to live independently and is staying with her in-laws. A gift of $250 will help Maribel provide basic necessities for her three children, including food, cleaning supplies, and car repairs.
Maddie is a 24 year-old single mother with a baby girl. The two recently fled domestic violence and lived in a shelter. Today, Maddie and her daughter live in Catholic Charities’ Transitional Housing Program. Although she is young, Maddie has lead a difficult life. She has PTSD from witnessing the murder of a loved one, very limited family support, a history of drug use, and a period of incarceration for theft. In addition, her baby girl has medical issues which require frequent trips to Chicago from Kankakee for doctor visits. Maddie is now sober and focused on providing a better life for her daughter. She hopes to become a social worker to help others. Your gift of $200 will allow Maddie to pay off old fines to her high school so that she can obtain her diploma. She also would like to receive blankets, pans for cooking, and diapers for her baby.
Olivia recently left her husband after suffering from financial, verbal, and emotional abuse. Although she had a good job, her husband mismanaged their money and they faced eviction for the fifth time. After years of abuse, Olivia is now on medication and has counseling to assist in rebuilding her life. She recently needed to take a medical leave from work, which left her unable to support her family and they became homeless. Now, the family lives in Catholic Charities’ Transitional Housing Program. A gift of $250 will help Olivia afford some Christmas presents for her children – as much of her money must be used to pay an attorney in her divorce and custody cases.
Molly and her three children fled their abuser in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothing on their backs. For years, Molly’s abuser wouldn’t let her work and required her to homeschool the children to isolate them. They lived in a trailer and moved frequently. Today, they are rebuilding their lives in Catholic Charities’ Transitional Housing Program. A gift of $250 will provide clothing and bedding. The family also needs chairs for their kitchen table.
Rihanna and her five children are staying at Daybreak Center homeless shelter. She works hard to ensure that her teenage sons are involved in after school activities and sports as a way of keeping them busy and “off of the streets.” A gift of $3000 will provide clothes, socks, shoes, and toys for the kids.
Zoe is staying at Daybreak Center homeless shelter. She has her five children, including a 12 year-old daughter has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. Prior to coming to Daybreak, this family lived in a hotel for a year. Despite their challenges, Zoe maintains a great attitude. A gift of $300 will provide clothing for the children. Zoe’s daughter also needs a new wheelchair.
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Once enough donations have been received to satisfy the needs of all clients listed, additional donations will go to our Annual Christmas Appeal where every client Catholic Charities serves will be taken care of year round. May God Bless you and your family.