LIMA — Tara was already struggling to provide for her two daughters before undergoing a heart catheterization in December.
The procedure took her out of work at a time when her wages were garnished 25% and the child support she relied on each month was reduced by $500. Then her oldest daughter, who will celebrate her 12th birthday later this month, no longer qualified for Medicaid, requiring Tara to claim her daughter on her health insurance for another $120 per month.
It was already difficult for her to work a full 40 to 50 hours in the factory each week, but as the sole provider for her children Tara has no choice but to push through her pain in a physically demanding job, even if her health is deteriorating.
Even providing the most basic need was difficult before the surgery. Now, between the holidays, a lapse in pay and other financial setbacks, Tara can hardly pay rent and put food on the table, let alone buy warm clothes for her daughters or keep enough laundry detergent around to clean the family’s clothes.
“I have to decide: what am I going to do this week? What can I afford to pay this week?” she said. “It’s difficult, and it’s not only Christmastime. It’s all year round that I have these struggles, but then I have the extra things that I need to pay around the holidays so that my children do have Christmas.”
Tara feels guilty for asking for help, knowing there are other families worse off than hers who deserve help during a difficult year.
But she has few places to turn, and her daughters need winter boots. They need socks and warm clothes for the winter. And, Tara hopes, a few toys for Christmas.
Her youngest daughter wears size children’s 6X in clothes and children’s size 13 shoes, while her oldest daughter wears large to extra-large women’s clothes and size 8 women’s shoes.
The girls enjoy arts and crafts and hair accessories. The oldest is wishing for a bicycle, and both girls are hoping one day they can have a tablet at home.
Tara needs help with everyday needs too, like rent, groceries and other bills.
“I didn’t want to be in a bind where they had nothing for Christmas,” she said.