Cases 42-44: Violence, illness have followed family this year

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100 Neediest

Drawing by Jenna Bernstein of MICDS.

CASE 42 • Ms. E and her three children have suffered enough violence and heartache in one year to last a lifetime. Ms. E’s fiancé, the father of her 3-year-old son, was shot and killed while driving to work, temporarily forcing the family into hiding. Months later, Ms. E was walking to her car when she was wounded by a stray bullet. Then, her youngest child was in a serious car accident that left him with health issues and the family with major medical bills. The chaos has taken a toll on Ms. E’s 11-year-old daughter, who is struggling at school, and her 10-year-old son, who has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. The family could use happier times, particularly for the holidays. Board games, pajamas, winter coats, scarves and hats would be appreciated. Gift cards to Walmart or Applebee’s would be a special treat, and the family could use help to catch up on utility bills.

CASE 43 • Ms. D, 37, suffers from cancer, a heart condition and high blood pressure. Her health problems prevent her from working, so she and her three children are living with relatives. Things are tough, but she does her best to stay positive around her children. She asks for food, clothing and toys for the kids — especially Spiderman and Batman toys for her two boys, ages 6 and 7.

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CASE 44 • Ms. E is 68 and disabled, suffering from diabetes and other chronic health issues. She has been drained financially and emotionally for more than a year. She gets by on Social Security benefits of $770 a month and $65 in food stamps. During this holiday season she would appreciate help with her utilities and grocery bills.

Case profiles by Cathy Hensley, Leah Thorsen and Denise Hollinshed 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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