GATE CITY — It’s been a year of setbacks and disappointments for Stephanie and her family, and with Christmas right around the corner, it doesn’t look like things will change anytime soon.
Living in Scott County with her husband, Josh, and her two children — Joshua, 2, and Brooklyn, 1 — Stephanie, 21, said her family is now just trying to make the best of a bad situation heading into this year’s holiday season.
Over the course of the past year, Stephanie said her mother lost her home in a fire, her husband was laid off from his job with a moving company, and her car was repossessed by the bank because they could no longer afford payments.
“I used to work ... but Josh was working out of town, and we didn’t have anyone watch the kids, so I had to quit that job,” Stephanie said. “He ended up getting laid off, and there aren’t any jobs. We lost our TANF, and the only things we receive now are food stamps and HUD to pay our rent.
“I don’t have a car anymore, so that makes it hard to go look for jobs. But we do whenever we get out. We’re not giving up.”
As a result of those factors, Stephanie said there is little money left to go toward gifts and holiday meals once necessities and bills are paid for.
But it wasn’t always like that, Stephanie said.
Last year, before her mother lost her home and her husband was out of work, Stephanie said they had enough money to give their children a good Christmas.
“Last Christmas we had toys all around the tree. Everybody in the family had something,” Stephanie said. “Now it’s not like that. It’s pretty bad. My son is 2, so he realizes what a Christmas tree is. It makes it tough.”
In order to make the best of the situation, Stephanie said her family decided to seek out help to purchase food and gifts for Christmas.
But even signing up for a service like the Angel Tree isn’t as easy as it sounds without the proper resources.
“We walked to sign up for the Angel Tree because I had no ride,” Stephanie said. “I got a ride to her house, and then I walked from Lynn Garden over to the Salvation Army, and we even took movies with us to sell after we left and had to walk all the way to the mall pushing a double stroller.”
Despite those difficulties, Stephanie said it was worth the trouble to ensure her children will at least have something to smile about on Christmas.
This family of four is just one of many individuals in a six-county region who will benefit from donations to the Times-News Rescue Fund, which collected around $60,000 last year.
All tax-deductible donations can be sent to: Times-News Rescue Fund, P.O. Box 479, Kingsport, Tenn. 37662.comments powered by Disqus