The holiday season apparently stresses everyone out.
There is the stress of decorating. The stress of identifying and buying the perfect gifts for everyone. Stress to cook, to entertain, even to find joy in everything.
The season stretching from today, Thanksgiving Day, through Christmas and New Years can be daunting, especially if your budget is already stretched to breaking point.
But for about 30 Springfield-area families and more than 80 care center residents, Share Your Christmas will relieve some of that pressure. Children will find gifts spilling out of Christmas tree skirts and residents of the nursing home will find treats and other treasures usually beyond their means.
Sheryl Wachter, the volunteer who organizes the News-Leader and Council of Churches of the Ozarks’ Crosslines co-sponsored annual program, says there are many reasons families are struggling this year, but COVID-19 remains. a common thread.
Stories 1 to 4: Share your Christmas: While a nice surprise, triplets still put stress on new parents
Stories 5 to 8: Share your Christmas: A grieving grandmother now has an extra grandchild to raise
Stories n° 9 to 12: Share your Christmas: Double amputee mother needs help after injury
Stories 13-16: Share Your Christmas: Cold Weather Cuts Dad’s Work Schedule
Stories 17-19: Share your Christmas: Diagnosed with diabetes leaves truck driver dad jobless and family in need
“COVID is still a word you’re going to see over and over again in stories,” Wachter says. “People have been sick, and when you’re an hourly worker, that means there’s no paycheck when you’re home with the kids or sick.”
Other families have struggled with deaths, serious health issues and more. A working mother had the choice of fixing her vehicle and keeping her job or fixing her furnace and keeping her child warm. She chose the vehicle and the job in hopes of eventually finding enough money to later pay for the furnace repair.
Wachter explains that each of the Share Your Christmas recipients is carefully screened to ensure they are qualified for the program. Along with proof of identity and financial status, they each give a brief explanation of their situation and a reference that Wachter can consult to better understand what this family is facing.
Stories #20-23: Share your Christmas: Mom’s budget is limited, help is needed to brighten up the kids’ Christmas
Stories 24 to 27: Share your Christmas: Single mother of two needs help getting through a tough time
Stories 28 to 30: Share Your Christmas: Mom and Dad Stay Positive Despite Family Struggles
Stories n° 31 to 34: Share your Christmas: Despite health issues, mom and dad still hope the kids have a good Christmas
Stories n° 35 to 38: Share your Christmas: after many years of absence, mum seeks help with health, work, childcare
The reference “can’t be neighbor, can’t be sister.” It must be the teacher, the pastor or their employer,” she says. “I visit the family to get more information about the situation they find themselves in and to make choices. »
Wachter notes that the numbers are down somewhat this year. Many years, about three dozen families are helped and more than 100 care center residents.
Crosslines manager Wes Buchholz says numbers are down across the board so far this season.
“Our Thanksgiving numbers are down. We used to serve around 800 families and we’re only down to 700,” Buchholz says, noting that “this is by no means a drastic drop.”
Stories n° 39 to 42: Share your Christmas: With no family nearby, mum raising one-year-old twins seeking help
Stories #43-46: Share your Christmas: Mum takes care of three young children while Dad works night shifts
Stories #47-49: Share Your Christmas: Financial Struggles Drive Cousins To Share A Home
Stories #50-53: Share Your Christmas: A Kind-Hearted Family Suffering From Illness And Money Troubles Seeks Help
Stories #54-56: Share your Christmas: despite health problems, the large family remains positive
Stories #57-60: Share Your Christmas: Grandparents Take Care of Kids While Mom Takes Care of Mental Health Issues
He suspects there are a variety of reasons for the decline, starting with how the pandemic has affected how families seek help, as well as how the federal child tax credit may affect the decision-making of some families regarding the request for assistance.
“We’ve had a lot of questions about this child tax credit,” he says. “There are agencies that count that as income. For us, it’s not income. It’s a tax refund.
He says that traditionally, calls for help dwindle during spring tax season, when refunds start coming in.
Buchholz says he knows that while the numbers have dropped, they haven’t. He urges families to continue to seek help and use the tax credit to pay off debt or improve the family’s situation.
Buchholz points out that anyone reading this today still has a week to ask for Christmas help.
Wachter says she’s optimistic that the historically generous community of Springfield will show up again for families Share Your Christmas.
She points out that while groups are welcome to adopt entire families, “you don’t have to adopt all five children. You can adopt a child. Small donations are also welcome. Dollar bills can stack up quickly and will help fill in the blanks with items such as clothing, household cleaning supplies, and toiletries.
“It’s always an uplifting and joyful day when families come to pick up their gifts,” says Wachter. “Almost without exception, they are overwhelmed with donations from our community. Not only the children, but we also help them with toilet paper and laundry. That’s what makes the whole project interesting: when we see that we were able to offer some Christmas cheer to these families, and maybe relieve some stress. »
About Share Your Christmas, how to donate
Share Your Christmas is News-Leader and Crosslines’ annual campaign to give readers the opportunity to share their holiday spirit with others. This year, some 30 families and more than 80 care center residents will have a wonderful Christmas thanks to the donors of Share your Christmas.
Families and care center residents can be adopted by a single donor or by a group working together to support one of the larger families. Donors can adopt an entire family, a family member, make a one-time donation, or give any amount of money. Every dollar counts. Readers who wish to donate can call Share Your Christmas at 417-866-8008. Callers should refer to the number of the story they wish to help, and they will be provided with specific information, such as clothing sizes.
Gifts should be delivered to the east side of the Crosslines building at 615 N. Glenstone Ave. Gift delivery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 11. The last day for gift delivery is December 14. If you cannot deliver the donations at these times, call 417-866-8008 to make alternate arrangements.
To make a cash donation, send a check payable to Crosslines, Share Your Christmas and the story number, if any, in the memo line. If the needs of this family or care center resident have been met and you are willing to assist others in Crosslines vacation programs, please write “or as needed” in the memo line. Donations can be made to http://crosslinesholiday.org/give/ or by mail to Share Your Christmas, 615 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield MO 65802. Monetary donations are welcome any time of the year.
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