For eight days, the Tallahassee Democrat is partnering with Catholic Charities on the Christmas Connection to spotlight local families who need help this Christmas. Here's how you can help.
CASE #392: Mom and two little ones
This family of three consists of single mother and her two little ones. The family was preparing for the arrival of her new baby last summer, but the baby was born prematurely and has several health issues. The baby spent her first three months in the NICU. This situation created financial strain and caused the mother to stop working. During and after her baby’s release from the hospital, the mother has been navigating life with a medically needy baby.
Critical items: Car payment assistance, car tires, furniture, gift certificates for food, gas, and clothing
Mother, Age 29: Gift cards for gas, groceries, and clothing, size Large
Son, Age 5: Learning toys, toy cars, remote control toy, blocks, Legos
Daughter, Age 4 months: Baby toys, baby activity blanket, toys that light up/make sounds, baby books, Diapers size 4
CASE #444: Aunt and 4 nieces
This family consists of an aunt and four nieces. She and her sister care for the girls together but live in separate homes. Their mother had been the legal guardian until her death in August due to COVID. The aunt also contracted COVID at the same time and is still dealing with health issues. She has not been cleared to return to work and is getting behind on her bills.
Critical items: Utility assistance ($300/month), towels, comforter and sheets (king) and pillows
Niece, Age 12: Nail polish, teen jewelry/accessories, bike and helmet
Niece, Age 9: Books, teen jewelry/accessories, bike and helmet
Niece, Age 5: Bike and helmet, stuffed animals, nail polish
Niece, Age 3: Trike and helmet, kitchen/cooking play sets, nail polish
CASE #469: Single grandmother
This single grandmother is raising her grandson (15). She recently experienced a hardship when her son died which caused her to fall behind on rent and utilities because he was helping support her. Due to her health concerns and instability, she is unable to provide Christmas for her grandson.
Critical items: Food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, Blankets – 1 queen, 1 king
Grandmother: Bath/beauty products
Grandson, Age 15: CD/MP3 player, Tablet
CASE #470: Family of seven
This family of seven includes a mother, her four children, and the children’s grandmother and great-grandmother. The mother was employed for a long time prior to COVID until complications from her pregnancy forced her to stop working. She experienced a premature birth and has not been able to return to work. Her mother and grandmother are able to help with care of the older children but they cannot handle an infant and 1 year old.
Critical items: Food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, paper products, television, Blankets – two queens, two throws, two baby blankets; pots and pans, dishes, silverware, bath towel sets and bathroom rug, shower curtain, microwave, crockpot, lamps for living room; baby bag, stroller, diapers (for 2 babies – 16-18 lbs, 27 lbs and over)
Mother, Age 23: Comforter and sheets – queen comforter and sheets, 4-panel black curtains, perfume/bath/body products
Son, Age 4: Bike and helmet, blocks, puzzles, scooter, tablet
Daughter, Age 2: Tricycle and helmet, Black baby doll, play kitchen set
Daughter, Age 1: Black Baby doll, music toys/instruments, learning toy, large floor puzzle
Son, 2 months: Baby toys, music toys/instruments, soft toys, baby bottles and pacifiers
Grandmother, Age 43: Jewelry, perfume & lotion set, body wash, Queen comforter
Great-grandmother, Age 57: Jewelry, pots and pans, perfume, ladies purse, black queen comforter set
CASE #480: Grandmother, grandson
A disabled, 57-year-old grandmother has been raising her 7-year-old grandson for a couple of years because his mother is missing and his father lives in Alabama. The boy is doing well in school and enjoys playing games and sports outside as well as watching movies and playing board games with his grandmother.
Critical items: Food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies
Grandmother, Age 57: XXL robe, Twin and king sheets
Grandson, Age 7: Remote control toy, bath products, pants, sweatshirt, size boys 6-7, socks
How to help
Donate in person: Drop off donated items at the Christmas Connection warehouse at 2990-2 Apalachee Parkway, next to the Supervisor of Elections office. The warehouse is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays. Days of operation to Dec. 20. Deadline for donated items is Dec. 15. Donations can also be dropped off at Morningstar Storage, 5600 Roanoke Trail, Tallahassee. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Wish List: Shop early and shop easy with the Christmas Connection Amazon wish list. You can view the wish list at the website TheChristmasConnection.org.
Blanket Day: Drop off new blankets and heaters from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 and Sunday, Dec. 5, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Apalachee Parkway location. A volunteer will help you unload your car.
Donate online or by mail: Make a monetary donation online at TheChristmasConnection.org or send a check to Christmas Connection, P.O. Box 20165, Tallahassee, FL 32316.
Adopt a family: Complete a brief request form on the website and a family in need will be assigned to you by the volunteer adoption coordinator. All families are referred to us from social service organizations in the Big Bend area.
Host a Christmas Connection collection drive or holiday party: Gather people from your office, school, church, sports team, family or friends and host a party or collection drive to benefit neighbors in need. You can sign up online on the website and then collect gift items, gift cards and/or monetary donations, which can be brought to the collection site during regular operating hours.
Volunteer: You can sign up on the website to donate your time and talents. Due to COVID, there is a limit on how many people can volunteer at one time.Most needed items this year: Bikes, gift cards, blankets, towels, teenage gifts, heaters (electric/space), housewares, diapers and nonperishable foods. All donations must be new.
Never miss a story: Subscribe to the Tallahassee Democrat using the link at the top of the page.
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Christmas Connection cases 2021, Day 7: Needs include toys, diapers