Dad works 2 jobs and goes to school to support family after mom’s heart attack


Jan Peterson, For the News-Leader
11:22 p.m. CST December 10, 2016

No. 65

Working two jobs and attending school fill the schedule of this hard-working father of four children. Mother worked until a heart attack and continuing health problems required her to quit. She’s applied for disability, but that has yet to be approved. “Try to reduce the stress in your life” was part of the medical advice she was given. That’s not easy when bills are piling up and there is no money for Christmas presents for the kids. The parents hope that when Dad finishes his associate’s degree he will be able to find a job that provides a more stable living for his family. Despite all their financial struggles, Mom says they have much to be thankful for, especially four healthy and well-behaved children.

The oldest child in the family, a 14-year-old girl, would like clothing and a small camera with carrying case. The three younger children are boys, a set of 12-year-old twins and an 11-year-old. Their gift choices range from a small drone to a game for the PS4 and a skateboard. The boys also need jeans and shirts. Mother would like a set of pots and pans. Dad is on his feet a lot at his various jobs and needs a new pair of tennis shoes.

No. 66: Mom, kids struggle after starting over 

Mom began her application to Share Your Christmas with these words: “I’m a single mom of two boys. I go to school full-time at Ozarks Technical Community College and Missouri State University. At the end of February, I divorced my ex-husband for domestic violence and abuse. My children and I moved to get away from him and put an order of protection against him. The children and I have been struggling ever since. Both boys were prematurely born and have had developmental issues. The 10-year-old has had hearing problems throughout the majority of his life, and had to have titanium pistons put in his ears.” Mom went on to tell how excited she is that, after this procedure, her son is finally hearing better. That has led to a big improvement in his speech. His reading skills are still delayed, but she is working with his teachers to help him catch up with his class.

Mom has had other challenging situations to handle this year. Her grandfather has been ill and she has made weekly trips out of town to help care for him. Recently she has had some medical tests that indicate she will need surgery soon. In addition to all her family and school responsibilities, Mom is trying to supplement her income with photography. She hopes her children will learn from watching her and be inspired to work hard and complete their education.

The 10-year-old son says his favorite subjects at school are science and math. He would like a science kit that will teach him how to grow crystals. A Lego set or Nerf gun are also on his Christmas list. Mother says she expects the youngest boy in the family, a 4-year-old, to grow up to be a mechanic or a builder. He is always into Mom’s tool kit so he can “fix” something. A set of toy tools would be the perfect gift for him. Both boys are growing quickly and really need winter clothing. Mom said she is a very practical person, so her Christmas gift requests are for a coat, cleaning supplies and a gas card.

No. 67: Large-print Bible would be special gift for woman

This care center resident moved to Missouri to be closer to her son and grandchildren. This has been quite a change from her previous home in New York City. When asked about her childhood memories, she told about learning to travel about the city using the subway system. During her adult years, she was a homemaker, Sunday school teacher and a volunteer at many places that needed her help. She likes to read her Bible and attend the music programs and parties at the care center. For clothing, she needs a sweat suit, sweater, underwear and hygiene products. A large-print Bible would be a very special Christmas gift for this lady.

No. 68: Veteran needs clothes, would like books on tape

The staff at the care center writes that this 86-year-old gentleman “likes to make people happy at the home. He tells everyone how great they look.” Besides enjoying the company of the other residents, he likes listening to music. He played in bands as a high school student and continued to participate as an adult in a community band. He is a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army. Pants, shirt, sweater and socks are his clothing needs. Sugar-free candy or books on tape are the special gifts he would enjoy.

How to help

Share Your Christmas is the News-Leader’s annual campaign, in partnership with Crosslines, to give readers an opportunity to share their holiday spirit with others.

Beginning Thanksgiving, we highlight daily families and care center residents who need help. Families may be adopted by a single donor, or donors can adopt just one family member, donate a single gift or donate any amount of money. Extra sweat suits (please call for sizes) and money for sweat suits, hair care and other little things would be very much appreciated by care centers. Every dollar helps. Readers who wish to donate gifts can call Share Your Christmas at 417-866-8008. 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. by Dec. 13. Monetary donations are welcome through Dec. 31. The hours to deliver gifts are from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

To make a monetary donation, send a check payable to Crosslines — with Share Your Christmas and the story number, if applicable, in the memo line — to 615 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield MO 65802.

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