Case 66: Ms. S had a good job and was doing well until her daughter, B, was born eight years ago. B was premature and weighed less than 2 pounds at birth. She was in the hospital for 98 days, underwent three surgeries and contracted meningitis. Ms. S celebrates every small accomplishment, but B is still unable to walk and is scheduled to have hip surgery soon. She doesn’t use many words, but can express her thoughts using a device that allows her to point at photos or icons on a screen. Recently, B’s toys and games were ruined when a neighbor’s toilet overflowed into their apartment. Ms. S and B need winter coats and could use a living room chair or loveseat, as well as gift cards and simple toys.
Case 67: H, age 17, has seizures, severe autism and is prone to violent outbursts when frustrated. H’s mom quit her job to be at home with him and his two brothers, ages 15 and 19, when COVID-19 closed schools. H, however, has not adapted well, destroying windows, furniture and electronics. A large, strong teen, H has directed his aggression at his mother, creating unimaginable stress. The 19-year-old tries to help calm H, while Dad works 70-hour weeks. The family struggles to pay bills. Financial support and gifts would help give them hope.
Case 68: Mr. R, a 67-year-old grandfather on a fixed income, has congestive heart failure and is on oxygen with limited mobility. His wife died last year, leaving him as sole caretaker of six grandchildren, ages 5-18. Mr. R tries his best to help his autistic 18-year-old grandson with remote learning. He also supports his daughter with an intellectual disability who is unable to care for her children. The stress affects his health, as each month he chooses between food and bills. Any help would give Mr. R and his grandkids a merrier Christmas.
Case 69: Ms. H. was pregnant and in foster care when she was just 15 years old. Eleven years later, she’s a single mother to three children, ages 10, 5 and 2, and a survivor of domestic violence. She asked for reduced hours to care for her children when the coronavirus pandemic struck, but was denied and had to quit her job. Despite her careful budgeting and frugal lifestyle, she struggles to make ends meet. She is more than $900 behind on utilities and is worried about disconnection. Ms. H asks for help paying bills, including a $1,000 car repair. She would like gift cards to buy gas and toys for her children.
Case profiles by Jeremy Kohler, Jennifer Selph and Leah Thorsen of the Post-Dispatch.