LIMA — Stacy thought this summer was going to be a life-changing one. It was, but not in the way she had believed.
“I had gotten a job making truck components,” said the 36-year-old Lima woman. She was thrilled. Finally, she had a chance to catch up, get ahead. Stacy, who’s estranged from her husband of 11 years, saw new opportunities for her and her three children.
Then, in June, she found bedbugs in the room her 12-year-old and 9-year-old daughters shared. The extermination service cost her $600, and she had to toss the bed the girls slept on. It was a setback, but one she could overcome.
“I told the kids, ‘Hey, I’ve got a decent job. Let’s just start over,’” with fresh paint on the walls, new beds and new furnishings.
She bagged up most of the children’s clothes and belongings and placed them down in the basement of her rented house in preparation for a big do-over. But she was working long hours at the plant and didn’t get to the renovations as quickly as she’d hoped.
Then, in July, record rainfall led to floods in the basement, the very place where she’d stored nearly everything her family had.
“Toys, clothing, coats, pictures, everything,” Stacy said glumly. “It was totally devastating.”
In August, there was devastation of a different sort. She was laid off. The job that was to change her life for the better disappeared.
“I get $200 a week in unemployment, but it doesn’t go very far,” she said. She’s struggled to find a full-time, long-term job.
“This is the worst time,” said Stacy. “Most companies are just hiring for Christmas.”
There’s a lot the Empty Stocking Fund could do to make Stacy’s Christmas a little easier. She needs a new refrigerator. In the parade of difficulties that has been marching through her home since July, the fridge is now on the fritz, with a cooling problem that ends up spoiling her perishable groceries.
Most of all, Stacy needs clothes for her children, and a new bed for the girls.
“They sleep in mine, and I sleep on the couch,” she said.
Reach Amy Eddings at 567-242-0379 or on Twitter, @lima_eddings.