Over the next week, the Tallahassee Democrat is partnering with Catholic Charities on the Christmas Connection to spotlight local families who need help this Christmas. Donations will be taken Nov. 27-Dec. 20. Here’s how you can help.
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CASE #103: Beds for special needs kids
This single mother is raising 4 sons with special needs. They have experienced numerous setbacks – washing machine, car, phone, and oven all stopped working about the same time. Mother was washing clothes by hand, cooking on stovetop, and looking for a car. The family may need to move due to rent increase if they cannot work something out with the landlord. It is the only home the children have known.
Twin Beds – all the children are sleeping in mother’s bed; food, toiletries and cleaning supplies
Mother, age 39: Bath towels and washcloths, pots and pans
Son, age 14: Tablet, science toys, sensory/motor toys, STEM kits
Son, age 12: Basketball/sports equipment, books, science toys, brain games
Son, age 11: Building blocks/Legos/model kits, science toys, gardening sets, sensory toys, STEM kits
Son, age 11: Science toys, books, brain games, tech toys, chemistry books/toys
CASE #143: Baby on the way
This mother is a veteran with a 6-year-old special needs daughter and new baby boy due at the end of November. She is not able to work because of her high-risk pregnancy and is living with her sister to avoid homelessness. She plans to return to work in the new year. In the meantime, she needs help with basic needs and Christmas joy for her family.
Food, toiletries and cleaning supplies, blankets (1 twin, 1 queen, 1 for baby), diapers (newborn and size 1), wipes
Daughter, age 6: Musical toys/instruments, CD/MP3 player, Disney music and toys
Son, age newborn: Size 2 diapers, infant toys, books
CASE #163: Grandmother cares for 3
This grandmother is caring for her 3 grandchildren after their mother moved out of town and never returned. The grandmother has limited income in a home in disrepair and with a 20-year-old, high mileage car that has frequent mechanical issues. Because of the chronic medical conditions of all 3 grandchildren, they make frequent trips to Gainesville for appointments. The grandmother is having difficulty keeping up with basic needs and home and car repair.
Food, toiletries and cleaning supplies, blankets (2 full, 2 queen), housing and transportation assistance
Grandmother, age 71: Queen comforter
Granddaughter, age 10: Bike and helmet, teen jewelry and accessories, tablet
Grandson, age 14: Bike and helmet, football/sports equipment
Grandson, age 20: Computer, CD/MP3 player, musical instrument
CASE # 187: Family of 6
This family of six consists of mother, father, grandmother, and 3 children. The father has terminal brain cancer, mother lost her job after her car was broken into, and they lost their home due to insufficient income. Mother was able to get another car and has now found a job delivering pizza and Uber Eats. She frequently takes her husband to Gainesville for medical treatment. With these stressors and costs, the family has trouble meeting basic needs.
Gas cards, Walmart gift cards, food, toiletries and cleaning supplies, paper products, trash bags, car repair, blankets (5 throws, baby blanket)
Mother, age 30: Pots and pans with frying pan, queen comforter, towels and wash cloths, hair straightener, 2023 calendar, baseball glove
Father, age 33: Hoodies, basketball shorts, socks, gloves, XXL underwear
Son, age 9: Science toys, remote control toy, sports equipment, board games, ear pods, gaming gear, underwear size 14
Daughter, age 2: Toddler toys, Barbie doll, books, washable art supplies, coat with hood and gloves, underwear 3/4T
Son, age 1: Suggested gifts: Baby/toddler toys, tricycle and helmet, animal toys, coat with hood and gloves, socks, underwear 2T pull-ups
Grandmother, age 79: Crockpot, jewelry, pajamas, socks, bath/beauty items, underwear women’s 9
How to help
Donate in person: Drop off donated items at the Christmas Connection warehouse at 2990-2 Apalachee Parkway, next to the Supervisor of Elections office. The warehouse is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays. Days of operation are Nov. 27-Dec. 20. Deadline for donated items is Dec. 12.
Wish List: Shop early and shop easy with the Christmas Connection Amazon wish list. You can view the wish list at the website TheChristmasConnection.org.
Blanket Days: Drop off new blankets and heaters from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Apalachee Parkway location. A volunteer will help you unload your car.
Donate online or by mail: Make a monetary donation online at TheChristmasConnection.org or send a check to Christmas Connection, P.O. Box 20165, Tallahassee, FL 32316.
Adopt a family: Complete a brief request form on the website and a family in need will be assigned to you by the volunteer adoption coordinator. All families are referred to us from social service organizations in the Big Bend area.
Host a Christmas Connection collection drive or holiday party: Gather people from your office, school, church, sports team, family or friends and host a party or collection drive to benefit neighbors in need. You can sign up online on the website and then collect gift items, gift cards and/or monetary donations, which can be brought to the collection site during regular operating hours.
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