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Cases 98-100: Mother seeks better life for her children

Case 98: Ms. W grew up in foster care and suffered years of abuse and trauma. She had her first child at age 17 and has had four more. Now 25, Ms. W’s relationships with men have been abusive. Two of her children were born prematurely and suffer from severe asthma. One is in and out of the hospital often. Another was severely abused by his father. Last year, her family lost almost everything in a house fire. They are living in the damaged home because they have nowhere to go. Ms. W recently got a part-time job but is struggling to find and pay for day care. She needs help with beds, furniture, food, clothes and toys for Christmas.

Case 99: Ms. R is determined to improve her family’s situation. She and her five children are still healing from several traumas. Her previous partner fatally shot their child two years ago. Then a daughter was in a serious bike accident, and Ms. R was in a car accident in March. She began walking again three months ago, but has limited stamina. She is facing shut-off notices for utilities. Trash service has already been discontinued. They would be grateful for beds, bus passes and help with rent and bills.

Case 100: Ms. B’s daughter died eight years ago from a lung infection after giving birth. Ms. B not only lost her daughter, she lost contact with her four grandchildren when their father got custody. For years, the children suffered abuse and neglect while in his care. In 2016, the state sent the children to live with Ms. B. At the age of 58, she has struggled to meet their needs. Her employer cut her hours, and the pandemic has made it difficult to find more work. Ms. B needs help with household items and making sure her grandchildren, ages 8, 15, 16 and 17, stay safe and healthy.

Case profiles by Michele Munz and Marcia L. Koenig 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 100neediestcases.org 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 100neediestcases.org to learn more.

Tradition

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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