Maria, an Arlington mom of two, began her letter asking for Goodfellows help this year with a big thank-you for holiday gift cards last year. Many moms are quick with gratitude.
“Last year, my kids were very happy for the gifts they received for Christmas,” wrote Maria, who is 39.
“Now this year I’m here asking for your help again because it’s been really hard for me and my family,” she wrote. “My kids have autism and it is necessary that I stay home and take care of them.
“My husband is a day laborer and is the only person in our household who works,” she said, “and sometimes what he gets is not enough to sustain the home expenses. For us, the end of the year is harder for our economy. Your help is enough to make my kids smile with a Christmas gift. God bless you, Goodfellows.”
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Armando, 36, is Maria’s husband, and he is also the only one of the family who drives. As a day laborer, he joins a group of sometimes 60 to 70 men waiting for would-be employers to drive up and offer short-term jobs.
“Sometimes people come by and offer as much as $80 to $100” for miscellaneous manual labor assignments, he says; other days he goes home empty-handed.
Their two children, both sons, are 11 and 8.
“They have behavioral and speech therapy in school, but I can’t afford the in-home therapist by myself,” Armando said.
Medicaid doesn’t cover the more personalized one-on-one therapy that is sorely needed by one of the boys, who is nonverbal and must use diapers.
“I would hope to see him getting better,” Armando said. “But if you take him outside, you have to hold his hand all the time.”
Even so, both boys enjoy getting the new clothes from the $50 J.C. Penney gift cards supplied by the Goodfellow Fund, “especially their shoes,” their father said.
Be a jolly Goodfellow
Since 1912, the Star-Telegram’s Goodfellow Fund has provided practical gifts for schoolchildren. Join this tradition by sending a contribution to Goodfellows, Box 1870, Fort Worth, TX, 76101. Or go online to goodfellowfund.org and make a secure credit card donation.