LIMA — Kelly and her husband, John, moved to the Lima area four years ago after the father of one of her sons assaulted her. They left their family and friends in the Bellevue/Clyde area to come to Lima.
“We picked up and moved the day after Christmas. I’ve never packed so fast in my life, but I was scared,” Kelly said.
Trouble seemed to follow the couple. Last year the family’s home burned down, and they had no insurance. They salvaged as much of the furniture as they could.
“The boys’ bunk beds still smell like smoke,” Kelly said.
The Red Cross helped them after the fire.
“The man who owns the house we are in now offered it to us on land contract. There were no floors or walls in the house, and he even came and helped us put them in. He is asking for no mortgage payment until Jan. 1,” Kelly said.
She felt lucky about that, until more bad news followed.
“I lost my grandma, and one week later John lost his job,” Kelly said.
The family’s modest home is warm, and they have a roof over their heads, but there is no money left over for Christmas.
Their neighbor told Kelly to go to the Salvation Army for help, something her pride kept her from doing for two weeks. Then John had an accident working in the garage. Kelly dropped him off at the emergency room, and she and the kids went to the Salvation Army to see if they could get some help, especially during the holidays.
“I just bawled when they told me we could possibly get some help,” Kelly said.
The couple have six kids: four boys, ages 10, 8, 2 and 1; and two girls, 5 and 4.
The 10-year-old lives with his father. He enjoys video games and has an xBox 360, Wii and PS2, reminders of better days. Kelly would like to get him a game for any of those systems.
Her 8-year-old son would like a Kindle Fire, a Nintendo DS, or Skylanders. He is in need of winter boots and wears a size two.
Their 5-year-old daughter loves princesses and dolls. She needs shoes and winter boots and is in a size two. She could use clothing and wears a six or seven.
Their 4-year-old wants a paint set and enjoys Lalaloopsey dolls. She needs winter boots and wears a size 10. Their 2-year-old and 1-year-old boys both need clothes. They are both in size 2T. They both enjoy playing with cars and trucks.
“All of the kids could use socks,” Kelly added.
Kelly attends nursing classes at Rhodes State College. She hopes to better herself and in turn better her family's life. John just recently picked up a part-time job as well.
The Empty Stocking Fund benefits three cooperating agencies: Bradfield Community Center, Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center and the Salvation Army. Money can be donated by sending it to The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima OH 45807, or by dropping it off at any Superior Federal Credit Union branch. Donations of new toys and nonperishable food items will be accepted at The Lima News office. For past stories, go to LimaOhio.com/emptystocking. These stories use assumed names to protect the participants’ privacy.