Adopt a Stocking: Rough 2022 cannot end fast enough for Lima family

LIMA — Anyone can have a bad day. Perhaps it may grow into a bad week or maybe even a bad month. For Brandon and Sarah, all of 2022 has felt like one bad day after another, and they cannot wait to close the book on this year.

“I don’t know what it is about this year,” Sarah said. “It has been the worst year with back-to-back things happening to us.”

This young couple’s story starts as many do: meeting in college, getting married, finding work and starting a new life together. That life included welcoming their son, Tyler, now 2 years old, with Sarah then deciding to stay at home to raise him. When 2021 came to a close, Brandon and Sarah were preparing for the arrival of their second child. The joy of welcoming their daughter, Tiffany, however, was short-lived.

“She was three weeks old, and she got COVID,” Sarah said. “We knew something was wrong because (Tyler) had a fever.”

This led to a painful hospitalization for young Tiffany thanks to a spinal tap due to fears of bacterial meningitis, and an eventual transfer to a large children’s hospital, as the doctors were very concerned with her dealing with COVID at such a young age.

“I felt horrible,” Sarah said, remembering Tiffany’s spinal tap. “I couldn’t do anything. I just had to stand there and watch.”

In the mean time, COVID spread throughout the rest of the family, with Sarah and an immunocompromised relative both dealing with pneumonia. Coupled with that were complications from a back injury Sarah suffered the previous year. Because of the injury, she had to have what was supposed to be routine back surgery. An infection in the incision site led to further complications, with doctors now recommending back fusion surgery. With only her husband working and little money or sick time available, that has forced a delay, leaving her with two small children and not being able to lift more than 10 pounds.

“We just don’t have the finances,” Sarah said. “And then our (electric) stove broke on top of that this year, and our one car broke down, so we only have one car that we share. So I can’t take (the kids) to the doctor or anything when he’s working. I’m just ready for the year to be over.”

These financial stresses have left Brandon and Sarah having to devote all available income to simply meeting the necessities, meaning Christmas gifts are not in their future plans.

“I feel like we’re in survival mode right now,” Sarah said. “I keep saying that.”

While she knows that neither Tyler nor Tiffany are old enough to be bothered by a lack of presents under the tree, Sarah still wishes that her children could have a few things to help make the day a little more special for them.

“He loves dinosaurs,” she said. “But they’re easygoing. They’re not picky at all. I need shoes for her. She doesn’t have boots or a snowsuit.”

Tiffany wears 12-month-size clothing and baby-size 4 shoes. Tyler is wearing 3T clothes and size 8 shoes for toddlers. Other items that would be helpful include diapers and wipes, with Tyler wearing 3T-4T size pull-ups and Tiffany wearing size 5 diapers.

When asked about any needs for them, Sarah’s mind stayed on the basics, talking about items like toilet paper and laundry detergent.

“They seem like small things, but when you don’t have extra money, you just can’t get those,” she said. “So we have to figure out which are more necessities.”

Even citing these feels odd to Sarah, who is not used to looking to others for help.

“We’re hoping it’s just a season to get through it,” she said. “It’s just been really, really bad. Hopefully, next year’s better, maybe.”

The Adopt a Stocking Fund benefits families during the holiday season. Monetary donations can be given online at or via Adopt A Stocking; c/o The Salvation Army; P.O. Box 234, Lima, OH 45801. All material donations for a specific family should be dropped off at The Salvation Army, 614 E. Market St., Lima, and should include a copy of the article or the date the story appeared in The Lima News. See past stories at

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0391 or on Twitter @cmkelly419.