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Cases 19-21: Man clings to his independence

Case 19: Mr. W has quadriplegia. The 60-year-old works hard to keep himself healthy so he can maintain his independence, which he holds dear. He lives alone in the house his family left him. He relies on Social Security for his income. Money is tight. The air conditioning at his house is over 20 years old, and he worries it won't make it another summer. With some help, he could finally replace it. That, he hopes, will help him stay independent and in the home where he grew up.

Case 20:  Ever since Ms. D, 36, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure last year, life has delivered one hardship after another. She hasn’t worked since then, and has been in and out of the hospital. Her partner and her five children have stepped up to do what they can — her 18-year-old son attends college and works full time to help out — but it’s not enough. They are falling further behind as they struggle to pay rent, utility bills and for school expenses and home repairs.

Case 21: In the midst of the pandemic, M, 38, lost her full-time job and has been relying on a part-time job to make ends meet for herself and her five children. She is already behind on bills. On top of that, the landlord is refusing to renew their lease and is kicking the family out. Ms. M. is worried she won’t be able to afford a deposit on a new home. The family is hoping for utility assistance and gift cards.

Case profiles by Jacob Barker, Cathy Hensley and Rachel Rice of the Post-Dispatch.

To give

ADOPT A CASE: For highest-need cases, the program supplies donors with a list of a family's needs. Donors are asked to provide at least one gift or gift card for each individual in the family. Everything goes directly to the family, through a social worker.

DONATE: Monetary gifts to the 100 Neediest Cases general fund are used to help almost 4,000 cases, and go directly to the families.

FUNDRAISE: Encourage friends, family and others to join you in helping. Set up a fundraising page for your adopted family or the program overall, and have an even bigger impact.

TO HELP: Visit or mail a check payable to "100 Neediest Cases" (no cash) to P.O. Box 955925, St. Louis, Mo. 63195. Or call 314-421-6060 and leave a message. 100 Neediest Cases volunteers are working remotely and calls will be returned as quickly as possible.

SAFETY: In an effort to protect our donors, adopters, clients and agencies from COVID-19, agencies may have new or changing delivery and gifting procedures. Visit to learn more.


The tradition of 100 Neediest Cases campaign dates to 1922, when civic leaders formed the Christmas Bureau. The Post-Dispatch has partnered with the program for more than five decades, renaming it 100 Neediest Cases in 1954.

HOW IT WORKS: Social service agencies, working through the United Way, identify thousands of needy families. Volunteers then select 100 cases to be profiled in the newspaper to raise awareness.

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