Nov. 21—LIMA — The living room was dimly lit, with only one window letting any light into the room. With the electricity shut off, that was all the light Jasmine would get that morning.
It has been less than a month since Jasmine moved into her new place in Lima along with her two children, Olivia and Lil' Sam. She had been with a boyfriend, but what she had hoped would be a dream life with this man turned into a nightmare as he quickly became abusive.
"You cook the wrong thing, you get beat up," she said, sitting on a donated couch in an otherwise empty living room, save for the broom standing in the corner, a gift from a neighbor. "He beat a baby out of me. He beat me to the point where I miscarried."
She hoped that moving out of state would help her start fresh, but she quickly ended up homeless and living in a tent with her kids. She only returned to Lima when she was notified that a place opened up where she and her family could live, and the trio had to rely on the benevolence of Greyhound ticket booth attendants to make their way back to Ohio.
However, Jasmine's purse was stolen a week after she arrived, so she is trying to get her life put back together without any money or even an ID card, let alone the $162 deposit she will need to get the power turned back on.
Jasmine's family is one of several who have sought assistance through the Salvation Army and the Adopt a Stocking program, run in partnership with The Lima News. Donations allow for these families in need to have a better holiday. Thanks to the generosity of donors, nearly $12,000 was raised during last year's Adopt a Stocking program.
According to Salvation Army Cpt. Charity Bender, the need has been just as great this year, with just over 1,200 children included in this year's applications, each family coming with its own story.
"Losing jobs — I've seen a lot of that," Bender said. "It's a little different for everyone, though."
For Jasmine, another difficulty she is facing is trying to help her son, Lil'Sam, 8, who has ADHD, get back on medication consistently, and it is difficult finding childcare for a child with that condition, she said. Food has been coming from food pantries, so far.
"They've been able to get us some food and things like fabric softener," she said.
For now, that couch in the living room is the only furniture Jasmine and the kids have, except for a stove and refrigerator that came with the apartment and a dining room table and chairs that are on loan until she can get a set of her own.
As far as Christmas gifts, Olivia, 10, would love to have the realistic-looking Reborn Baby doll, Jasmine said. As for Lil'Sam, he loves cooking and would love to have kitchen-related toys and gifts.
"I've never met a boy who loves cooking the way he does," Jasmine said. "He wants to cook and wash clothes."
Along with basic necessities, including furniture, especially beds, Jasmine has one wish she would like to see granted for her kids this Christmas.
"My kids haven't had a Christmas tree in seven years," she said. "I want to give my kids a Christmas tree so bad. It's sad because they ask me, 'What about Christmas dinner?' I don't know what we're going to eat. I don't know about Christmas dinner. I don't know about tomorrow. But even if it doesn't have lights, I want to get my kids a tree."
ADOPT A STOCKING
The Adopt a Stocking Fund benefits families during the holiday season. Monetary donations can be given online at give.salvationarmy.org/stocking or via Adopt A Stocking; c/o The Salvation Army; P.O. Box 234, Lima, OH 45801. All material donations for a specific family should be dropped off at The Salvation Army, 614 E. Market St., Lima, and should include a copy of the article or the date the story appeared in The Lima News. See past stories at LimaOhio.com/tag/stocking.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0391.