Their mom gone and dad in prison, Fort Worth boys depend on relatives

FORT WORTH -- When Kay found herself suddenly caring for her two grandsons last year, she didn't know how she would survive financially.

The boys' father -- her son -- is in prison after firing a gun at the boys' mother. They lived briefly with the mother, who was unharmed, but then she dropped them off with Kay last year and didn't come back.

"Sometimes I just want to give up, but I'm all they got," Kay said this week.

She had been laid off before the boys arrived. Now she relies on food stamps along with financial help from a daughter and a nephew to support the 14- and 12-year-old grandsons.

"It's almost impossible," Kay said "My daughter pays the majority of my rent."

The boys are well-behaved and dream of getting academic or athletic scholarships to TCU, she said. The older grandson wants to be a teacher, the younger an architect.

"They learned good manners from their father despite what he has done, but I hope they don't make the same mistakes he did," Kay said. "He tells them in letters all the time to stay in school, get good grades and don't mess up like he did.

"If I had been through what they had been through, I don't think I would be able to do it, to keep up my grades."

That is why getting help from Goodfellows this holiday season is important to Kay. It will allow the boys to get essential clothing they desperately need.

"Some people think $50 won't make a whole lot of difference, but it will be the difference between being cold and not being cold," she said. "I don't have to worry about coats, sweaters and underwear."

She'll let the kids pick out their own clothes. Then they'll wrap everything and open them on Christmas Day "so we can celebrate all over again," she said.

Goodfellows has made a difference in the boys' lives, and she hopes others will benefit from the program.

"The kids, they didn't ask to be in this situation," Kay said. "It was bad decisions, a bad economy - it wasn't their fault."

Goodfellows provides gift cards that parents and guardians use to buy clothing and shoes for school-age children. Last year, the fund raised $876,810, which provided cards to 18,000 needy children.

This year, because of the continued need, the directors raised the goal even higher: $1 million to serve 20,000 children.