Laberta’s oldest son — one of four of her five children still living with her — almost had a great Christmas.
“Some people from a church came out with a trailer full of gifts, and there were a bunch of those hoverboards,” said Laberta, 43, a single parent and Butler Place resident.
“People were hitting and pushing each other to get one, and he didn’t want to get into it. He said, ‘Mama, I just walked off.’ ”
Laberta felt bad for Jordan, 17. But she felt worse when she, too, just missed a chance to make Christmas special for her daughters, Emeri, 8, and Kayla, 11. She got home on a bus just as folks from another church were leaving with a freshly emptied trailer.
“My girls wanted bikes, and they had some,” Laberta said. “My friend told me about a church that’s coming out pretty soon, and they’re supposed to bring some stuff. Maybe we’ll get something then.”
Fortunately, there’s no maybe about the Goodfellow Fund. There’s no guesswork about when the trailer will arrive.
Jordan and his 16-year-old brother aren’t eligible for the program. But Emeri and Kayla will be getting clothes and shoes with $50 J.C. Penney gift cards as soon as Laberta finds a way to get to a store.
“I ride the bus everywhere, but I don’t have a pass for that right now,” Laberta said. “I have to wait for some money to come around.”
Optimism is a tough attitude to maintain for someone who’s had the hard knocks that Laberta has endured. She was employed as a housekeeper until “I got real sick and ended up having surgery.”
Recovering from ovarian surgery kept her out of work so long that Laberta lost her job. Getting another one isn’t as easy as healing was.
“I’m OK now, but I’m still not working” Laberta said. “I’ve been looking around. They’re not doing too much hiring right now.”
Laberta can’t count on family for help. Her father died in October, and her mother is being treated for cancer in a rehabilitation hospital.
But Laberta is optimistic.
“I’ll make a way somehow,” she said.
It’s for families like Laberta’s that the Goodfellow Fund was started in the Star-Telegram news department back in 1912. The type of gifts and the method of delivery have changed, but the purpose hasn’t — to brighten the holidays for school-age children.
Gifts from Goodfellows
Join this community tradition by sending a contribution to Goodfellows, Box 1870, Fort Worth, TX 76101. Or go online to goodfellowfund.com and make a secure credit-card donation. We’ll acknowledge your gift in the newspaper unless anonymity is requested.