Cases 96-97: Medical bills put mother deeply in debt

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100 Neediest

Drawing by Danielle Jundt of St. Louis Community College.

CASE 96 • Medical bills have taken a toll on this family of six over the past 18 months. The oldest child, a girl, 15, was hospitalized for spinal meningitis. Her youngest brother, born a month early last year, has had a battery of health issues requiring hospital stays. The 15-year-old and her 10-year-old sister have incurred medical bills from broken bones this year. To help pay the bills, their mother, Ms. K, 38, has maxed out her credit cards and is struggling to meet basic needs for her young family. She would appreciate food, clothing, diapers, cleaning supplies, toiletries and toys, books, puzzles and school supplies for the children.

CASE 97 • Mr. and Mrs. J and their four young children have been homeless for most of the year since their house caught fire. The fire took all of their possessions, and it struck just a few months after Mr. J, 28, was wounded in a shooting late last year. He was shot five times, leaving him unable to use his arms, which has made it difficult for him to find work. Without a job or income, the couple has limited means to find a home for their four children, who range from 1 to 8 years old. The family would appreciate any assistance, including help with rent, canned food, clothing and toys for the children.

Case profiles by Doug Moore and Nassim Benchaabane 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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