Mom of 8 on Goodfellows: ‘I just needed a little help for Christmas’

Romola has great hopes for Christmas 2017.

“Next year I’ll be in a position to turn things around and help other people,” said the single mother of eight in Fort Worth.

But 2016 is a year Romola won’t mind seeing in the rearview mirror. Her husband left her for an ex-wife and took his support with him. Then, Romola got laid off from a tax-preparation business.

With her finances in a tailspin, Romola had to ask the Goodfellow Fund for help. She got $50 J.C. Penney gift cards to buy clothes and shoes for six — Cesar, 17, Abigail, 15, Ismal, 15, Fabian, 12, Jose, 8, and Pricilla, 6.

“I got the kids clothes and some shoes, even some sweaters for the boys,” she said. “I got some coupons through the phone and more through the newspaper. That really made the gift cards go far.”

Romola’s youngest — Michelle, 2, and Rafael, 1 — are too young to be eligible for the gift cards.

But their mom said that’s OK. Things are looking up.

“We’re reopening the tax office and work is picking up again,” Romola said. “I’ll be OK. I just needed a little help for Christmas.”

And she wanted everyone who donated to the Goodfellow Fund to know that she appreciates it and considers the help she received a blessing.

“For the people who haven’t donated, I understand,” Romola said. “Times are tough. If I could donate, I would do my best to try to help other people.”

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 and make a secure credit-card donation.