FORT WORTH -- Being a single mother and raising six children with very little child support can be daunting to anyone, even those in perfect health.But it's especially difficult for Melissa, 30, who learned in 2007 that she has a mass on her optic nerve.In a letter to the Star-Telegram's Goodfellow Fund, Melissa said the painful headaches caused by the brain mass made it difficult for her to keep a job and pay bills, much less buy Christmas gifts for three girls and three boys, ages 3, 8, 10, 11, 12 and 14."Christmas is coming up, and I know I can't afford gifts," the letter stated.Goodfellows, a nonprofit that is observing its 100th anniversary of helping children during the holiday season, recently gave Melissa $50 gift cards for her five school-age children.In the past few weeks, Goodfellow Fund volunteers have screened thousands of applicants and distributed about 20,000 gift cards. The cards can be redeemed at J.C. Penney for clothing and shoes.The $250 was enough to buy clothes and shoes for all six, even the 3-year-old.Melissa said doctors were still monitoring the brain mass but she gets headaches less frequently than she did a few years ago. She was even able to get a part-time job recently at a clothing store."It's not a lot money, but it's something," she said.Melissa said that between her new job and the gift cards she received, Christmas will be a little brighter."Some people don't understand; some think $50 is not a lot," she said. "But those gift cards did a lot for me."Susan McFarland817-390-7547Twitter: @susanmcfarland1
Be a Goodfellow
As we start the final week's countdown to Christmas, remember the children who wouldn't have a gift to open without your help. Please send a contribution to Goodfellows, Box 1870, Fort Worth, TX 76101. Or go online to goodfellowfund.com and make a secure credit-card donation. We'll acknowledge your gift in the newspaper unless you ask to remain anonymous.