By Eric Butler
A Christmas tree with lights on and gifts underneath, a big dinner with turkey and dressing and pies for dessert — this is the picture of the holidays that Christine would like to paint for her family this year.
But there’s another scenario that’s closer to reality for Christine (not her real name) and her three children: no light, no running water, no gas to warm the house.
Unfortunately, the single mother is forced to think more about the necessary expenses to keep her house a liveable one rather than the luxuries required for a splendid Christmas.
Not that Christine doesn’t think about the holidays, however.
“I’d like to have a Christmas that the kids will never forget — a very happy one,” Christine said. “All the kids would be sad if they don’t have a Christmas.”
Christine’s children are all very young. Her only son is 2 1/2 years old; the two daughters are a year and a half and five months old. A resident of the area for the past 18 months, Christine doesn’t currently have a job and only gets limited help from the government to provide for her family.
“I’d like to get food and toys for the kids,” said Christine upon applying with the Salvation Army’s Empty Stocking Fund for assistance. “But I have no money to get Christmas for them because of bills.”
Through the Empty Stocking Fund, a joint effort of the Salvation Army and the Clovis News Journal, Christine’s family will receive a food basket that includes pancake mix, peanut butter, jelly, canned goods, cereal, beans, rice, sugar and macaroni and cheese.
More than 400 local families are scheduled to receive the baskets through the Empty Stocking Fund this holiday season.
Donations for the Empty Stocking Fund may be dropped off at the CNJ, 521 Pile St., or mailed to the CNJ, P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102-1689. Envelopes should be clearly marked to indicate they contain a donation for the Empty Stocking Fund.
All contributions will be forwarded to the Salvation Army.
People who would like to donate food or new Christmas toys or clothing items may do so at the Salvation Army office, 317 E. Second St.
Information is available by calling the Salvation Army office at 762-3801.