Cases 37-38: Fire takes everything, forces family to move

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100 Neediest Cases student artwork

100 Neediest Cases student artwork by Charlie Belobrajdic of Edwardsville High School

CASE 37 • T and her husband, S, lost everything in a fire in August. They and their four children, ages 17, 16, 12 and 9, have had to stay with friends and family. They never know how long they will be able to stay before having to move again. They are trying to stay positive, but it’s hard. T and S and their family need a permanent place to live, as well as help with food, appliances, clothing, furniture and household items.

CASE 38 • This family of seven is homeless. They lost their most recent stable home after falling behind on utilities, and still owe $1,200 for one bill. Without any relatives to take them in, they move from hotel to hotel. T, 26, is looking for work. Her husband, G, 37, works on cars to make ends meet and provide for their three girls, 11, 9 and 7, and two boys, 6 and 5. The 6-year-old suffers from seizures, and the family is looking for a place where he feels comfortable and safe. They could use cash or gift certificates for household items, personal hygiene products and food; and assistance with housing costs, clothes and toys.

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Case profiles by Jeremy Kohler 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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