For eight days, the Tallahassee Democrat is partnering with Catholic Charities on the Christmas Connection to spotlight local families in need of help this Christmas. Here is how you can help.
Day 5:The fires devastate two families; give pots and pans, puzzles | Christmas 2021 Connection Case
Day 4:Blankets, Barbie Dolls and Bikes are on Wish Lists | Christmas 2021 Connection Case
Day 3:Serious health problems weigh on families | Christmas 2021 Connection Case
CASE # 303: Cancer survivor
This double cancer survivor is raising her five grandchildren (aged 15, 14, 13, 9, 7) with her retired husband. They started raising the children in 2014, when their mother was diagnosed with brain cancer and moved in with them. After his death in 2016, they adopted the children who are doing quite well. The grandmother looked after her own cancer treatments while taking care of her daughter and children. Despite COVID, many of the children are in the gifted program and all are performing well at the school level. They also had to deal with several unscheduled repairs to their home.
Critical Items: Food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, blankets – one twin bed, one suit, one queen bed, electric hotplate, mop, broom, washcloths
Grandmother, 66: big nightgown, socks 9-11
Grandpa, 72: 2X shirt, 2X pajamas, 40 X 34 pants, XL adult diapers
Grandson, 15: sports equipment / basketball, headphones / earphones, toiletries, shirts L, pants 34 x 32, coat XL, shoes size 8
Granddaughter, 14: bath / beauty products, ear cups / headphones, jewelry, perfume, 14 Jr. dress, XL coat, 14-16 pants, size 4 shoes, sanitary napkins
Granddaughter, 13: bath / beauty products, jewelry, perfume, headphones / earbuds, XL coat, medium pajamas, 6-8 dress, size 4 shoes
Granddaughter, 9: bike and helmet, board games, live black baby, pants 14-16, medium coat, shoes size 2
Granddaughter, 7 years old: Bike and helmet, board games, living black baby, size 7 dress, 11 children’s shoes, little coat
CASE # 305: Single dad
This family is headed by a single father who is a US Navy veteran. He and his three daughters fought homelessness and lived in a shelter. They have faced many challenges this year, but thanks to the generosity of others, the family has been able to stay together under one roof. The father uses his resources to find a secure living situation.
Critical elements: Food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, blankets – one full, one queen, one king; clothes for girls
Father, 46: pots and pans, glassware, housewares
Girl, 7 years old: Craft supplies, baby doll, Clothing – Pants and shirt, size 6X, 13 kids shoes
Girl, 11 years old: bike and helmet, jewelry / teen accessories, books, clothes – Pants and shirt, size 14-16 girls and 7.5 women shoes
Girl, 13 years old: Jewelry / accessories for teens, arts and crafts supplies, books, Clothing – pants and shirts, size 12-14 girls, shoes 7 women
CAS # 314: Two have sickle cell anemia
This family of five consists of an elderly great-grandmother, mother, son, daughter and nephew. The daughter and son both have sickle cell anemia. The great-grandmother acts as the head of the family even though she is unable to work. She manages the children’s medical needs and pays the bills with her limited Social Security checks. The mother has not been able to keep a stable job as she has to transport her children to Jacksonville for their medical appointments.
Critical elements: Food, toiletries, cleaning products; Assistance to public services ($ 275 to $ 300 / month); four king-size blankets and sheets
Great-grandmother, 73 years old: none listed
Mother, 31 years old: none listed
Nephew, 17: headphones / earphones, football, FSU gear
Girl, 10 years old: Tablet / kindle, Barbie doll
Son, 8 years old: table / kindle, ferris wheel / tricycle
CASE # 316: A man with cancer
This case is a 56-year-old man who has just been diagnosed with cancer. He was already disabled before he was diagnosed with cancer. He lost his mobile home in Hurricane Michael, but recently received a new manufactured home. He started radiation therapy in Panama City. He needs another six weeks of radiation therapy before doctors determine if chemotherapy is necessary. He receives assistance in transporting Apalachicola for his doctors and radiotherapy treatments in Panama City.
Critical needs: Gift cards with gas, food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, a queen blanket
Client, 56 years old: DVD player, pots and pans, towels, washcloths, tea towels
CASE # 364: Caring for children, parents
This family is a single mother caring for two children and two elderly parents. The mother works to take care of her parents; one of whom is nursing and disabled after recovering from a stroke. The other parent has Alzheimer’s disease. The children’s father is deceased.
Critical needs: Toiletries and cleaning products; Blankets – 1 full, 1 pier and 1 queen
Mother, 34: kitchen towels, blender, books, including a Bible and daily scriptures
Grandfather, 73: wristwatch
Grandmother, 65: Jewelry, earrings
Son, 7 years old: books, sports equipment – basketball, Beyblades, Pokémon cards and socks
Girl, 12: books, arts and crafts supplies, slime, fidget spinner
How to help
Donate in person: Drop off donated items at the Christmas Connection warehouse at 2990-2 Apalachee Parkway, next to the Election Supervisor’s office. The warehouse is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The opening days are until December 20. The deadline for donated items is December 15th. Donations can also be dropped off at Morningstar Storage, 5600 Roanoke Trail, Tallahassee. Hours of operation are 9 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday; From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Wish list: Buy early and buy easily with Christmas Connection’s Amazon Wish List. You can view the wishlist on TheChristmasConnection.org website.
Cover day: Drop off new blankets and heaters from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 4 and Sunday, December 5 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Apalachee Parkway location. A volunteer will help you unload your car.
Donate online or by mail: Make a monetary donation online at TheChristmasConnection.org or send a check to Christmas Connection, PO Box 20165, Tallahassee, FL 32316.
Adopt a family: Complete a brief application form on the website and a family in need will be assigned to you by the volunteer adoption coordinator. All families are referred to us by social service agencies in the Big Bend area.
Host a Connection Christmas drive or a holiday party: Gather people from your office, school, church, sports team, family or friends and have a party or fundraiser to benefit neighbors in need. You can register online at the website and then collect gift items, gift cards and / or monetary donations, which can be brought to the collection site during normal business hours.
Volunteer: You can register on the site to donate your time and talents. Due to COVID, there is a limit to the number of people who can volunteer at the same time.
Most needed items this year: Bicycles, gift cards, blankets, towels, gifts for teens, heaters (electric / space), housewares, diapers and non-perishable foods. All donations must be new.
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