Cases 42-44: Family of 7 needs to escape mold, can't afford to move

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100 Neediest Cases student artwork

100 Neediest Cases student artwork by Morgan Nelson of Brentwood High School.

CASE 42 Ms. K is a mother of three daughters — ages 2, 10 and 15 — and two sons, 1 and 11. Ms. K and her husband both lost their jobs recently. One Sunday, they came home to find that their ceiling had caved in, revealing black mold, which was concerning because two of their children have asthma. The family can’t afford to move, because they lack money for application fees and deposits. They also need help paying for utilities, transportation and housing.

CASE 43 • Ms. K, 41, recently moved her family to St. Louis to distance them from her psychologically and emotionally abusive husband. Ms. K is blind and has five daughters under age 10 and a son, 17. She also cares for her 17-year-old godson. They currently live with a relative. The family needs money for clothes, rent, utilities, school fees, a storage unit where they keep their belongings, groceries, transportation and medicine. Ms. K would also like gifts for the children.

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CASE 44 • Mr. D, 59, has been homeless for 20 years. He recently moved into a boarding house. He is glad to have a roof over his head, but the boarding house has a severe bedbug infestation and no washer or dryer. Mr. D. has to give the boarding house his entire disability check in order to stay there. He sleeps on the floor in a sleeping bag despite suffering from a degenerative back disease, goes to a local food pantry for meals and washes his clothes in the sink at a nearby gas station. He would be grateful to have an air mattress, cleaning supplies and money for clothes.

Case profiles by Annika Merrilees 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 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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