Empty Stocking: Fragile mother struggles to provide for children


By J Swygart - jswygart@limanews.com



The Empty Stocking Fund benefits three cooperating agencies, Bradfield Community Center, Mizpah 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 Credit Union branch. Donations of new toys and non-perishable food items will be accepted at The Lima News office. These stories use assumed names to protect the participants’ privacy. See past stories at LimaOhio.com/tag/emptystocking.

LIMA — Sondra’s spirit may be tough, but her body is fragile.

Three back surgeries in six years due to degenerate disc problems have left her unable to work. Additionally, a condition known as brittle bone disease has left her hobbled.

“My bones break easily. Right now I’m walking on two broken feet,” the single mother of three said recently.

Sondra’s first back surgery came in 2010, followed by more surgeries in 2012 and again in October of this year.

In October of 2016 she was chasing a toddler who was headed into the street when the tendon in her kneecap snapped. Sondra subsequently fell and shattered her wrist. It’s been that kind of decade.

Unable to work, Sondra now relies on Social Security disability checks for her livelihood. And because her working career was spent mostly as a bartender — an occupation where tips often are not claimed, and subsequently not counted as income — “my monthly check is squat,” she said.

As the holiday season approaches, Sondra’s is focus is primarily on her children. But then, that’s the case throughout the entire year. She sends her children to Catholic school “because I want the best possible education for them.” And even though the family is eligible for vouchers that defray the majority of the tuition costs, “there are still other fees involved, and people don’t understand that,” Sondra said.

But with a meager income, making ends meet while raising two sons, aged 16 and 7, and a 12-year-old daughter can be taxing. “By the grace of God, I don’t know how we make it,” Sondra said.

After being without a vehicle for more than a month after her van broke down, Sondra recently received a delinquent child support payment from the father of her two youngest children, who is now in prison. That allowed her to purchase a modest vehicle, insurance on that car and “to put a little money back” for the months ahead. But the family is not without other needs.

Sondra’s new car needs tires and brakes, and the youngsters have modest needs. Shoes in boys’ sizes 13 and 3 and women’s size 9 would be appreciated. The 16-year-old boy could use a shaving kit, said Sondra. Her daughter enjoys “crafty things” and the youngest likes to play with Legos and similar toys.

“Believe it or not, we’re doing okay. Each month is a stress, but we make it,” she said.

https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2017/12/web1_EmptyStocking-15.jpg

By J Swygart

jswygart@limanews.com

The Empty Stocking Fund benefits three cooperating agencies, Bradfield Community Center, Mizpah 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 Credit Union branch. Donations of new toys and non-perishable food items will be accepted at The Lima News office. These stories use assumed names to protect the participants’ privacy. See past stories at LimaOhio.com/tag/emptystocking.

Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.

Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.

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