LIMA — Nancy and her family’s life hasn’t been the same since a house fire this fall.
She’s been living out of a motel with her two youngest, Shelly, 4, and Jeff, 13. Two other children, Pam and Peggy, are grown and have their own places.
Nancy is trying to find herself a place to stay and is searching. Cooking in a motel room isn’t exactly gourmet but it keeps Nancy and her family from going hungry.
“We have a Crock Pot, electric skillet and a toaster,” she said.
Christmas this year is almost an afterthought. Still, the reality is she has a young daughter who believes in Santa Claus.
She doesn’t want to have Christmas in a motel room and is planning on going to one of her older daughter’s for the day.
“So it will feel like Christmas,” she said.
The reality is, however, it’s not the Christmas she has had in the past.
Besides her house fire, Nancy is awaiting surgery on both wrists. Injuries have left her with limited use and she can only have one wrist operated on at a time so she still can take care of herself.
The first surgery is later this month and the next will follow six weeks later, she said.
“I just feel helpless. Nobody should have to live this way,” she said.
Six weeks after that, Nancy plans to return to work wherever she can find a job, she said.
“I’ve always worked,” she said. “I don’t care where it is, I’m going to go back to work. I’m not ashamed to work anywhere.”
Still, 2012 for Nancy will be remembered for a house fire that took away her home and possessions, and for being out of work for the first time in her life.
She’s just hoping Shelly and Jeff do not remember it as the year without Christmas.
“If (Shelly) can just get something she can play with, she’s happy,” Nancy said. “(Jeff) understands.”
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.