Mom who can’t work gets help in providing holiday cheer

Jessica needs surgery. Her gallstone problems have worsened, but without insurance, she will just have to wait.

“I met a doctor who will donate her time, but I’m on a waiting list,” she said. “It’s very painful.”

Add to that, she has three children ages 5, 3 and a 1-month-old baby.

Since she can’t work because of her illness, her husband’s pay is just barely enough to support the family. After rent and bills, there’s not enough left over to buy presents this year, she said.

“How do I explain to my kids that Santa is broke this year and is not going to make it to our home?” she said.

Thanks to the Star-Telegram Goodfellow Fund charity, she will be able to give two of her children at least clothes and shoes. She interviewed with a volunteer a few weeks ago and was approved for a J.C. Penney $50 gift card for the older kids.

“My kids love Christmas, and I know they’re going to be real happy on Christmas Day,” she said.

Richard Greene, the program’s executive director, said donations are trickling in. He said that’s typical.

“It’s still early,” he said.

This year, Goodfellows’ directors aim to give gift cards to more than 18,000 children. So far, more than 13,000 gift cards have been distributed, said Lauren Butschek-Neisler, Catholic Charities program manager.

Each year since 1912, the Star-Telegram has asked readers to give so that children like Jessica’s will find something from Santa under the tree.

How to be a Goodfellow

You can join this longstanding holiday tradition by sending a donation to Goodfellows, Box 1870, Fort Worth, TX 76101. Or go online to to make a secure credit-card contribution. We’ll acknowledge your gift in the newspaper in coming weeks unless anonymity is requested.