Cases 45-46: Abuse traumatizes mother and five children

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100 Neediest Cases student artwork

100 Neediest Cases student artwork by Anna Stetzel of Lindbergh High School

CASE 45: Ms. P was left for dead when the father of her children beat her so severely that she had to be hospitalized. The whites of Ms. P’s eyes were blood-red for six months. That ordeal, and the horror of discovering that her abuser had also sexually assaulted her 12-year-old daughter, left her mentally damaged. She was pregnant with twins at the time of the violence; they were born at 25 weeks, and spent four months in intensive care. While recovering from her injuries and sitting by her babies’ bedsides, Ms. P fell behind on her utility bills. She is hoping for a blessing for her children, ages 12, 10, 3 and 1; they’re her reason for living. They need clothing, a bed and other household items, toys and books.

CASE 46: Ms. A, 39, lives with her three daughters, ages, 11, 17 and 23. The eldest has a developmental disability. The family recently moved to a new home in St. Louis but couldn’t bring their furniture with them. They need about $2,000 to repair their only vehicle and could use winter clothes, household supplies and furniture. The family hopes they’ll have enough to celebrate the holidays this year with a family meal.

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Case profiles by Erin Heffernan and Sarah Bryan Miller 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 meet at least one of the stated needs and provide at least one present for each person 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 4,300 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: Call 314-421-6060 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, visit 100neediestcases.org, or mail a check payable to "100 Neediest Cases" (no cash) to P.O. Box 955925, St. Louis, Mo. 63195.

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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