Getting a car means mom needs help with boys’ presents

The biggest hassle in Ashley’s life these days is getting her kids to school. The way is often blocked by trains.

“I live in a small, two-bedroom house next to four train tracks,” said the 27-year-old single mother of three boys.

Her home and her sons’ school are on opposite sides of those tracks.

Sometimes rows of train cars are left on the tracks for weeks. Ashley and her kids must walk a very long way around, or crawl between or underneath the trains to get to school.

“I’m very careful when we go through the trains,” she said.

Ashley’s car was repossessed after she fell behind in payments when recovering from an appendectomy that left her unable to work for a month. Without a car, she and her boys get around mostly on foot.

“I’m fine now,” Ashley said. “I’m working again, and I think I’ll have another car by January.”

Putting together enough money for a down payment, in the midst of all the other financial demands, has really strained Ashley’s budget.

Gift cards from the Goodfellow Fund are the only way that Aidan, 7, Marcus, 6, and Elisha, 4, will get the warm clothes and shoes they need for school. And for the second year in a row, those will be just about all they’ll get for Christmas, their mom said.

“It feels great to know they have something to open every year,” Ashley said. “Even though it may not be exactly from me, it’s wonderful to see their faces when they see gifts under the tree.”

Ashley’s children are among about 18,000 who will receive the J.C. Penney gift cards this year, thanks to the generosity of Star-Telegram readers. But the fund is still far from its goal.

Is Goodfellows on your list?

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. We’ll acknowledge your gift in the newspaper unless anonymity is requested.