Families Struggle at Start of Holiday Season

Thousands across the Tri-State have headed to their computers and tablets for the latest deals and steals this Cyber Monday.

But not everyone has the option of taking advantage of the big sales this time of year.

For many, their focus is less on finding that perfect present and more on being able to just provide the basics.

Mike Camp is a single father of two, and instead of clicking around for deals, he’s working.

He’s doing everything in his power to provide, but still finding himself coming up short.

“It’s tough. In the mornings, I get up. My schedule here is 8 to 4:30,” Mike explained.

That time spent working is time away from his kids.

But despite his efforts as a warehouse technician, Mike is still finding himself falling through the cracks.

He’s struggling to make sure that when he does get to see them, his four-year-old children have what they need.

“Toys that maybe I might not be able to pay for. Clothing. Sometimes clothing is hard to pay for while I’m trying to pay for the daycare. So just basically the simple stuff just to keep them happy at Christmas,” he listed.

But Mike’s not alone, with many across the Tri-State seeing some added holiday stress beyond shopping and decorating.

“When you’re in a family that is facing poverty and other challenges, it really adds a whole deal of stress to the family, with the realization that you won’t be able to provide anything for your children for the holidays,” said Angie Richards Cheek, who serves as Executive Director at Ark Crisis Child Care Center

But thanks to the efforts of the center, those looking to give back and become a special Santa to children in need have the chance to make magic.

“Our Christmas Adoption is so very, very special. We’ll adopt out about 150 children and their families here at Ark. And we’ll match them up with one of the families, one of the children here at Ark. Give them a wishlist and let them take it from there,” Cheek added.

But the kids in need aren’t asking for that must-have toy. For them, a merry Christmas goes back to basics.

“We see a request for blankets over and over again. We see a request for toothbrushes and toothpaste. Really humbling basic needs that some of our families aren’t able to provide for their children,” she said.

And with that need comes an opportunity to truly capture the spirit of the season.

“We just had Thanksgiving, where it was a chance for all of us to reflect on what we have and be thankful about. But, gosh, it really makes you feel good when you can look outside your own family, your own things, your own blessings and see what you can do for someone else,” Cheek said.

If you’re interested in learning more on how to adopt a family like Mike’s, information about getting involved in the Christmas Adoption program can be found here.




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