We received a call at my office today from a woman who was looking for some help. Her story broke my heart, and has put a lump in my throat that I cannot easily swallow away.
She is living in a motel room with her three children, girls, ages 1, 2 and 3. During the day, they go with her to the daycare where she works. She also works at a restaurant in the evenings. I have no idea who keeps the children then. She called us because the children have no coats, and it is 13 degrees out today. She has run out of diapers. For dinner, her children eat cold ravioli from a can and, sometimes, the leftovers she brings home from the restaurant at night. Sometimes she also buys them ramen noodles, though I don’t know how they cook them. The children are under-sized and malnourished.
The family cannot be “adopted” for Christmas because they have no home, and not even a car, to hold any gifts. They cannot receive any fresh fruits, veggies or meats from the food pantry because they have no place to keep them. Even if she had the money, she could not rent out an apartment because she can’t move further than walking distance from her two jobs.
The next time you think you have it hard, please remember this woman, and remember how lucky you really are. It’s the holiday season and, if you are in any position to share any of what you have with others, I strongly urge you to. This woman’s story is not as unique as we would wish it was, and her family’s struggles will continue long after we put away our Christmas trees for the year.