LIMA — Ann’s family room is sparse.
A line of children’s shoes lean against the staircase, and a poster-board with a child’s scrawl that reads “We love you, mom!” hangs on the wall.
When asked about the poster, Ann begins to tear up.
One a stressful day after work, she recalled that the kids were being unusually quiet until her 9-year-old girl, Miracle, presented her with the poster.
“They were really there for me,” she said.
It now hangs as the centerpiece of her living room.
There’s little else in the room, except for the assortment of shoes, donated after an electrical problem burned down the residence of Ann and her five children this past summer.
Since the fire, Ann’s family has been trying to re-establish the life they had when Ann had a few “extra dollars in her pocket.” Winter clothes, furniture, appliances and even Christmas decorations were all lost at the time, and in the following months, it’s been difficult replacing everything lost on the family’s budget. Recently, Ann said she’s replaced beds and some clothes for her children, but she hasn’t had the funds to replace her own clothes and furniture. Many of the second-hand appliances have also come with hindered functionality.
Complicating the situation is Ann’s health issues. Just this past month, she was diagnosed with skin cancer, and while she still holds her job as a customer service representative, recent surgeries have limited her working schedule and reduced her take-home pay that’s already just enough for her family to live paycheck to paycheck.
“I feel like I’m making it with five kids, since I still have a roof over my head,” she said.
But even with the push, Ann said she’s still worried about having her progress taken away a second time. Since the first fire was an accident, she loses sleep wondering if it will happen again.
“I worry every night. I worry throughout the day. Is my house going to be okay?” Ann said. “I just worry about me and my kids having stuff tomorrow.”
This weekend, Ann said she plans on buying a Christmas tree for the family. The kids had been bugging her about one, she said, so she found the $15 model that will be able to add some spirit to the holidays.
“They just want more than what I can give them,” Ann said. “I just want to see my kids happy this Christmas.”
Outside of furniture and appliances, more winter clothes for her two boys and three girls are also needed, Ann said. The five children include an 11-year-old boy, size 14/16, XL shirt, a 9-year-old girl, size 14, or L shirt, a 7-year-old boy, size 7T, 6-year-old girl, size 5/6, and a 2-year-old, size 3T.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.