I'm in Dayton Ohio. I am on unemployment and was granted custody of my 5 year old granddaughter. She has had a horrible life and I want to make it better for her, but with my income being so low, I don't know where to turn for help with Christmas.
I also take care of my mother. If anyone knows where I can get help in the Dayton Ohio area please email me through this site.
I'm really far behind in all my bills and my home is falling apart. All I can do is just cry. I try not to let my mother or granddaughter see me cry. I don't wanna upset them. Thank you so much.
By JO from Dayton, OH
Jo, ask store managers who put names on a tree at Christmas time and customers will take a card and buy a gift knowing the age/sex gender of that child. The store managers are in charge of seeing the items are distributed to those addresses they have received. I would personally visit stores and talk with the manager so he/she knows your goodwill concern/situation. I believe you would get positive response doing it this way. It's a humbling experience for you, but swallow the pride and just ask. Most people are willing to help out even more when they know it's a genuine concern and you really do care and they see how much.
When the Christmas charities are ready to start taking applications it will be in all of the news media. As far as home repairs go, find out what organizations get together at various times of the year to do things like that. Where I live the Home builder's Assoc. does that with donated materials in the spring of the year. However, it is for elderly and disabled people. If you are caring for your mother in the same home, she should be getting social security and/or a pension and that should be helping with the household expenses.
Also, in most places the county has funds to help with utility bills on a one time basis. That is done on income based needs. I know from my own personal experience there was a time that I would go without a phone because that was the one thing I absolutely didn't need, and this was due to the fact that I didn't use my head when budgeting. I have a 46 year old daughter with 4 kids who does the same thing, only she lets her family get evicted. If you have cable TV, let that go and use rabbit ears, also you could let your internet service go, that is something you absolutely don't need.
Where I live it isn't the store managers that pick the names that go on those trees. The names are submitted by non-profit or social services agencies. These same agencies are in charge of collecting the donated gifts and seeing that they get to the proper people.
Jo, you might try contacting Community Action Partnership in Dayton. Their website is http://www.cap-dayton.org/. They may have programs to help with Christmas gifts and home repairs. I don't know what benefits you might currently be receiving on your granddaughter's or mother's behalf but they may be able to help with that, too.
Yahoo groups usually have local groups in your area; some are designed specifically for local people to jump in and help; (if they are able to do so) also: don't think "things" for your granddaughter) love and kindness means far more than a bunch of "toys";
Salvation Army is fantastic about helping always; check with them; they also have a program available to help with repairs etc for seniors on homes, and may even be aware of others in the area who can help you out!
I bought many wonderful stuffed animals there for 59 cents! washed them, and gave them to my daughter and others as gifts.
In fact, in my opinion, folks paying a higher price need an MRI to see if they have a brain! wonderful stuffed animals like 3 feet high Tigers, and Pooh bears; $2.99; like brand spanking new! roller blades, books, etc; all my family is fully aware that I detest the "commercialism" of Christmas; and that I usually always give my gifts through out the year instead! and I send Christmas cards in Sept, June, or whenever; because Christ is the reason for the season!
Consider giving her a stocking; and putting $3 in it; and taking her with you to the $ store and letting her pick out her own gifts! She will be delighted and thrilled;
Even adults love getting a beautiful balloon from there; cost $1.00! and attach it to a back scratcher is what I usually do!
Sometimes I get 2 or 3 balloons to make a "bouquet"; it makes everyone feel special!
In fact, my family tried to talk me out of my ways; finally decided to "join" me since they couldn't change my way of thinking! My sister paraded a beautiful leather coat to her husband one year, saying this is your Christmas gift to me!
He said oh, it's nice! How much did it set me back? $200 or $300? (they have oodles of $) and trust me, they do NOT need to even think of being frugal! She said "$20!" I got it at Goodwill! or some thrift store! they took a vacation to Hawaii later in the year on the $ saved!
re home repairs: start with "baby steps"; instead of feeling overwhelmed: say, ok, I can do this; google what needs to be done; check out the net; they have all kinds of wonderful do it yourself sites; also i picked up several excellent "home repair" etc books; and I have never mastered using an electric can opener!
I got paint for free, from freecycle and craigslist; with this I was able to paint my home on the inside; you can also keep an eye out on "mismatched" paint at some stores, they are far cheaper than others! Home Depot and Lowes are very low, as well as Bimart in my particular area.
I have ripped up yucky carpeting, and laid down new tile. (inexpensive) I told the Lord, You have done this with millions of people over the years, and I need Your help in doing this! (it turned out so well many other people amazed at what I had done, did theirs as well!
Curtains, beautiful ones; yard sales and thrift stores; keep looking til you find the beautiful ones;
Are you getting food stamps? One Christmas I had no $; I had no cookie sheets; I had no cookie cutters; I made a ginger bread boy and a ginger bread girl; I cut them out of a cardboard box.
I proceded to cook them one at a time on an upside down large "pasta" pan with steel handles;
Later, I made butter frosting with powdered sugar; I made all kinds of colors; got M&M's or some candy things; I sat down with my far younger sister and brother; and we "painted" them; it was fun!
I said Oh, I think I am going to make my girls hair purple. What? No one has purple hair!
It's MY cookie, and I am going to make it any color I choose! and I choose purple!
Connecting with them at their way of thinking! and choosing to help them think outside the box!
Oh, wow! I am going to make my guys hair blue! we had a ball; messy, yes: but cleans up very easily with water; and the "mess" on the floor sweeps up in no time flat!
In stead of thinking what you cannot do: think of things that you can do!
I have heard it said "God helps those who help themselves"; that's not true.
He helps everyone who needs His help; and He loves to be invited to help! Always and ever be alert to His leading; start with baby steps; perhaps make a list of everything you would like to see done in your home, as well as everything that needs to be done;
then do what you can with what you have; watch craigslist for free items; do belong to local recycling; and freecycle. org. Rome wasn't built in a day; I am disabled; I used to have to sit in a shower and could barely shampoo and bathe myself.
It's been a number of years ago; I persisted and am now able to do quite a bit more than then, which was basically nothing much! I could not even drink a full cup of coffee out of a paper cup; I used to greet the snails outside every morning: saying Good morning Amy, andy, etc (through the letters of the alphabet; one each morning) because I moved so slowly I related with them! Heck, they could probably have won me in a race!
One time I remember with tears streaming down my face, and laughing at the same time saying don't ever say it can't get worse (pain wise) because that's not true! It took me 20 minutes to get 15 steps, from a car to inside my house.
It may take me far longer that it does others; there are still a lot of things I cannot do; but I have a great deal of things I can do now that I was unable to do for years.
I understand the feeling of being overwhelmed; it takes me 2 entire days to do what my daughter or grandson's can do in an hour! or less!
When I feel my attitude is affecting me, and trust me, it can easily; what I do is to set a timer; every single day, at a particular time, for a solid 7 minutes, I can weep, wail, punch pillows, etc; when the timer goes off though: it is done until the next day.
This is the only time I will let myself be upset over my condition. Then it is put away til the time the next day. Only during the designated time, will I allow or permit myself to engage in this. But because I allow myself the time to do so, and refuse to do it any other time; I can tell myself if I start thinking of things, negatively; that this is not the time for this; tomorrow at 5pm is the time for THIS kind of thinking; (you must train your brain); soon, it will do exactly that.
Kids and others can sense unhappiness, etc, so you are not really "hiding" it from them. This way, it gives you the opportunity to engage in your feelings; and leave it there; and spend the rest of the time in peace and joy.
Congratulations on getting your granddaughter out of a difficult situation!
Contact your local churches; society clubs, like Junior Chamber, Optimist, Rotary, Elks/Moose, Legion etc.; and even your Chamber of Commerce might know where you could find some help.
Christams is special because of the things we share, not what is under the tree! God Bless and good luck to you.
Experiences tend to leave a longer-lasting impression than things, when it comes to Christmas. Think back to your childhood and Christmas & your fondest memories. You probably recall time spent together, doing something special.
I don't know what you have access to, but baking and decorating cookies together is always special. Many bigger communities have a big Christmas light display that you can drive (and sometimes walk) through. Put some cocoa in a thermos, grab a blanket to keep cozy in the car, and go look at lights. One year we had lots of fun making a little village from a Martha Stewart magazine. We used wood for ours, but it could easily be modified by using boxes -- even cereal and macaroni & cheese boxes turned inside out. She's five years old, so I think she'd have a blast coloring the houses with crayons and/or markers. If it's in your budget, grab a pack of construction paper from the dollar store, and she can use that to embellish, too. I couldn't find the instructions for our individual houses, but this looks fun. It uses cardboard boxes, and can easily be modified to what you have around:
When I was a kid, I had a friend who (looking back as an adult) came from a family on hard times. We didn't mind -- we didn't notice. My friend and I put up the artifical tree, and decorated it ourselves (this was before her mom was ready to get out the ornaments). We strung popcorn (cheap & fun!), made paper chains, and put other homemade items on it. The grown ups looked at it kind of funny, but we kids thought it looked great!
You could have her help make some Christmas cards. I started out doing this as a kid, and now I sell my handmade cards (I was even contacted by the Martha Stewart Show a few years back!). If you spend some creative time with her now, you never know where it will go!
If you have a close neighbor or friend who won't be with anyone else for the holiday, why not invite them over? They could bring a dish or two, and it would help show your granddaughter the joy of sharing with others. And a true friend won't judge you if you don't have the fanciest or most expensive Christmas decorations. They'll just be happy to spend some time with you.
At her age, she should still be pretty happy with simple gifts. When my daughter was five, she was happy when she got a Play-Doh kit. My daughter still enjoys Littlest Pet Shop toys. If you're not familiar with them, they're little bobbly-headed animals, and some come with accessories. They also have stuffed animals that come with a code to play online, but in my opinion, the regular Littlest Pet Shop toys are better. All it takes is a few pets and a shoebox or two, and a kid can play with her imagination for a long time.
Do you have any Chrismtas music CDs (or whatever media you use)? I don't recommend listening to them ALL the time (unless you really like that), but having it in the background when working on these projects helps with the mood, too. We particularly like Nat King Cole's Christmas music. When I play that the first time, I know it's now officially the holiday season for us!
I hope you find the help you need to get through this holiday season. Please do let us know how it goes. I bet your granddaughter will be happy with just about anything you do with or give her. We'll be thinking about you!
Someone else already said it, but the Salvation Army is truly one of the best helper organizations there is. Emphasize "fun" and "good times" to your granddaughter, rather than "gifts". But as for gifts, you can find tons of great new or barely used items at thrift stores, garage sales, etc. (Start now). The dollar store is a great place for small items. At 5, she is not going to be that jaded to expect too much and there is nothing wrong with her understanding eventually that you don't have a lot of money.
Well, I wanted to add something else. One year my husband was unemployed (for like a year) and I didn't work either (our kids were small and daycare costs would have eliminated most of my wages). So I picked up pecans (at my aunt's who went halves with me) and in the street near my house (I lived near a pecan tree lined boulevard, they fell in the streets in droves). I made enough $$ to pay for a modest Christmas for my kids. (Here you can sell pecans to the farm and ranch stores who buy them by the pound). (And as a blessing that particular year pecans were paying well.) My point here is to think outside of the box and you will succeed.
If you are not already signed up, please sign up with your local food bank. Your area should have a main food bank plus a lot of churches operate their own food bank. When we were down and out that is what we did. At the holidays, the food bank even included a few gifts/clothes for my three boys. Contact all the churches in your area and ask if they have a program for helping people during he holiday season.
Also, I don't know your exact situation but is there any possibility that you might be able to take in a child to watch, even if it would be just before and/or after school; this might help provide you with some extra money and perhaps provide some companionship for your granddaughter.
Also, check your local area's Craigslist where people sometimes give away items. You can also list items that you are looking for. Sometimes people are glad to give away items, just to get rid of them, and especially to someone who is having a hard time.
May God bless you, your Mom and your granddaughter in a special way!
Here is a link to a national charity called Love, INC ( In the name of Christ). They have offices in every state.
http://www.loveinc.org/our-work/locations/ Call one of these offices in Ohio and they will help you, even if it's not in Dayton. They take care of everything from home repairs, bills, car problems, everything!
I know you feel overwhelmed. You are not alone. Jesus is right there with you. Call on Him. He is bigger than all your problems. He loves you and wants to help you. You just have to ask for His help. Don't let the huge-ness of your problems destroy you. Take it an hour at a time. Try to get through the next hour, and then the next. If you have a bible, get it out and read it. You will find strength and comfort in there. And pray. Pray all day long. I will pray for you and your family right now as I type this. Things will get better. I promise. Your blessing is right around the corner. You can't see it, but it's on the way! Hang on.