Goodfellows helps parents with winter clothing for their son

ARLINGTON -- Miriam says prayers come true.

Since Aug. 8, when her husband was laid off, her family has managed with the aid of her church. The church is made up of humble, working-class families, she said, but they have helped with food and rent money.

"It's a small church," she said in Spanish. "With the little they have, they have helped us."

Miriam, 36, wrote to the Goodfellow Fund when the weather started getting cooler, hoping to get a winter coat for her 12-year-old son. The Goodfellow Fund provides school children with $50 gift cards to J.C. Penny that can be used only for clothing or shoes.

"It is very important to me," Miriam said. "It is a great help. A great blessing."

Since it was started at the Star-Telegram in 1912, the Goodfellow Fund hasn't skipped a year of providing something for children in families in need during the holiday season. This year's goal is $1 million to help 20,000.

In 1912, contributors gave $1,242.80, which paid for 350 gift baskets that contained a turkey, two loaves of bread, fruit, canned vegetables and toys; each family also got a load of wood or coal.

Miriam said recent months have been difficult since her husband, who used to install and repair air conditioners, has been doing only odd jobs. He hasn't been able to secure permanent work. In fact, in September, they experienced another setback when he injured his wrist while cutting metal for a job. He ended up with six stitches and hospital bills.

Unexpectedly, a large portion of the hospital debt was paid; Miriam believes it was through a charity. In late November, the last bill outstanding was for $525 for a doctor, she said.

Miriam hopes her Christmas wish comes true: "We continue to pray that he find a permanent job."

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