Four of Erica’s six kids believe in Santa Claus for good reason.
“They say ‘Mama, at school some kids say there’s no Santa,’ ” said Erica, whose health — not to mention taking care of six children — prevents her from working. “I tell them ‘No, Santa Claus is real.’ ”
Most everything is a mystery to 2-year-old Melody. But the family’s finances are no secret to Jaqueline, 15, Kimberly, 14, Ella, 11, Belia, 9 and Eric, 6. They know how hard their mom and dad struggle just to keep enough food in their Polytechnic area home for the eight of them. Sometimes there’s not enough money left over to get the medicine Erica needs to treat the type-2 diabetes she was diagnosed with in 2008. So when presents appear under the tree on Christmas Day, in the minds of the middle kids, there can be only one logical source.
“We have no money, but there are presents under the tree on Christmas,” Erica said. “I tell my kids, ‘Who do you think put them there? We couldn’t.’ Thanks to Goodfellows and an angel tree, we always have something from Santa Claus.”
Erica’s husband, Michael, works full time for a construction company despite a bad back he sustained a few years ago when a cement pump hose bucked him off a balcony, and a hand that was broken when he fell from a ladder.
“He’s still working because he has to,” Erica said. “The company helped him out until he was able to go back to work.”
Hard work is a way of life for the couple who have paid off the mortgage on the house they’ve lived in for 15 years. But Michael’s money stretches only so far, and the family lives from one paycheck to the next.
“We try to give the kids what they need, especially for school,” Erica said.
That’s what the Goodfellow Fund gift cards will do this year.
“The kids need shoes,” Erica said. “The ones they’re wearing are worn out.”
Jaqueline is too old and Melody is too young to be eligible for Goodfellows help. But Erica said she has picked up four gift cards that will put shoes on the feet of Eric, Belia, Ella and Kimberly.
The 14-year-old is actually wise to Santa, but in a good way.
“Kimberly knows that it isn’t her parents doing it,” Erica said. “But she also knows there are good people out there.
“To her, they are Santa Claus.”
Give Santa a hand
Join our holiday tradition by sending a donation to Goodfellows, Box 1870, Fort Worth, TX 76101. Or go online to goodfellowfund.com. We’ll acknowledge your gift in the newspaper unless anonymity is requested.