Share Your Christmas: Money tight as parents schedule work around caring for children

No. 37: Working parents seek help providing Christmas for kids

Even though they both have jobs — one full-time and one part-time — these parents of five realize their budget won’t stretch enough to cover Christmas presents for their children.

Because their youngest child, a 4-year-old girl, has health problems that require constant monitoring, Mom often works from home or plans her schedule around Dad’s work hours so that one of them is always home to care for her. Weekly appointments with speech and physical therapists and occasional trips to St. Louis for check-ups at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital mean time taken off work and travel expenses, too.

However, on a positive note, Mom says their daughter’s health shows improvement: Daily therapy exercises are strengthening her, and bit by bit, she is being weaned off a feeding tube.

This family also includes 9- and 10-year-old daughters and sons ages 7 and 8. Room decorations and books are suggested gifts for the 10-year-old girl, while her 9-year-old sister likes dolls. Pokemon card collectors, their younger brothers have also requested Nerf guns and Lego sets. A game the family can play together would be a nice addition to their Christmas celebration, Mom says.

No. 38: Single mother, daughter with Down Syndrome searching for stability in Springfield

Moving into their own apartment recently has been a high point in a year of challenges for a single mother and her 7-year-old daughter. Since they came to Springfield earlier this year planning to live with family members, the road has been “bumpy,” Mom admits.

When that situation did not work out, the two were homeless until they received housing assistance from Ozarks Area Community Action Center.

Still, obstacles remain. Before Mom can get a job, she needs to find suitable after-school care for her daughter, who has Down Syndrome. Not owning a car also complicates her job search.

Hopefully, a donor will make celebrating Christmas as smooth as possible for this mother and daughter. Gifts on the girl’s list — dolls, a Little People set, and big hair bows — reflect her interests and skills. Clothing is also needed, and other practical gifts are on Mom’s gift list, too.

No. 39: Care center resident hopes for paints instead of candy

“She is such a kind and gentle person” are the words center staff use to describe this older resident. Growing up in Missouri, Sharon says caring for all the family pets is one of her best childhood memories. Now, she is content to spend quiet time in her room, reading and painting. While many care center residents request treats like candy, Sharon would prefer paints and a pad of heavy paper or a book of pictures to paint. A Kansas City Chiefs fan, she would also like a sweater or shirt with a team logo.

No. 40: Resident lets staff know they're appreciated

Growing up in Springfield, Michael worked for many years with his father at S&S Pallet Co. His happiest memories are of going on family vacations and gathering for dinners with his entire family. As an adult, dining out continued to be a favorite pastime, and he fondly recalls taking his wife out to dinner for special occasions. Now, at his care center, Michael enjoys watching television and eating — and compliments the cooks for the way they prepare meals and provide residents with a variety of menus. Christmas gifts requested by Michael are a sweatsuit, jacket, and socks.

About Share Your Christmas, how to donate

Share Your Christmas is the News-Leader’s and Crosslines’ annual campaign to give readers the opportunity to share their holiday spirit with others. This year, about 30 families and more than 80 care-center residents will have a brighter Christmas, thanks to Share Your Christmas donors.

Families and care-center residents may be adopted by a single donor or by a group working together to help one of the larger families. Donors may adopt an entire family, one family member, donate a single gift or donate any amount of money. Every dollar helps. Readers who wish to donate gifts can call Share Your Christmas at 417-866-8008 or email Callers should refer to the story number they wish to help, and they will be given specific information such as clothing sizes.

Gifts must be delivered to the east side of the Crosslines building, at 615 N. Glenstone Ave. The hours to deliver gifts are 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 10. If you are unable to deliver donations at these times, call 417-866-8008 to make other arrangements.

To make a monetary donation, send a check payable to Crosslines, Share Your Christmas, and the story number, if applicable, in the memo line. If the needs of that family or care-center resident have been met and you are willing to help others in the Crosslines holiday programs, please write “or as needed” in the memo line. Donations can be made at mailed to Share Your Christmas, 615 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield MO 65802. Monetary donations are welcome any time of year.

This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Share Your Christmas: Parents schedule work around caring for children