Editorial: Sharing Families asks for help for local familiesAs much as we all wish it weren’t so, economically speaking, times are tough for a lot of families.
As much as we all wish it weren’t so, economically speaking, times are tough for a lot of families.
Even those of us with steady paychecks find that for a variety of reasons we have to be more careful with our take-home pay.
But despite all we’ve been through in the last few years, the River Falls community has pulled the stops every year and reached out to the neediest at Christmastime through the Sharing Families project.
The program is underway again, and again we need your help.
The goal is to provide warm winter clothing, food, toys and other holiday gifts for 50 area families. This non-profit effort is led by a board of volunteers and coordinated by River Falls Journal staffers.
So far the volunteers who screen the families have provided us with profiles for all 50 families. Of that number, 35 have been “adopted” by other families, workplace groups and local organizations that will pool efforts to help a family in need. Cash donations, which will be used to buy food packages and other necessities, are also starting to come in.
A primary goal of the program is to provide holiday gifts, both toys and clothes, to the children. But most donors agree that helping the parents with daily needs also helps the kids. And besides it’s nice to give something extra to an overburdened adult.
There are single parent families, some with a mom as the head of the family and some with a dad; two-parent families; grandparents bringing up grandchildren; families supporting extended family members; and some families with babies on the way. All are struggling, and all live in our community.
The adults in Sharing Families are mostly under-employed or laid off from previous jobs. Some are disabled but are being trained in new skills, some are starting over after leaving abusive relationships, and some are close to homeless.
A frequent request seen so far is for gasoline cards. Gift cards for tune-ups, oil changes and other repairs are also appreciated. Many of the parents — those fortunate enough to have jobs — commute for their work. Others drive regularly to colleges and technical schools to try to improve their situations.
A good many of the 50 families have at least one member with a medical problem. Health issues in these families range from ADHD to cerebral palsy to multiple sclerosis to epilepsy to auto-immune disorders to, well, you name it. Those health problems eat up resources and leave little money or energy for the rest of the family.
Can you find it in your heart to help people like these below?
--A mother who has just found a new job and now needs appropriate clothing for work. She is also asking for clothing, winter boots and gifts for her teenage daughter.
--A couple of families that are currently homeless and living in a shelter. The children need clothing, and the parents need shoes and basic household items.
--A family of four. The mom is asking for the usual gifts and clothing for girls her daughters. The mother isn’t able to drive. She would like taxi vouchers and an electric griddle.
If you are able and willing to help, we ask your assistance in these ways:
--Sponsor a family or child by buying the items they have requested. Those who decide to do that are asked to call the Journal’s Vera Roy-Stoeberl at 715-426-1046 or Judy Wiff at 715-426-1049.
--Add a child to your shopping list and buy a new toy, game or outfit for that child.
--Make a donation of money to buy food, toys and clothing. (No cash will be given to families.)
Donations may be mailed to Sharing Families, P.O. Box 701, River Falls, WI 54022; brought to the Journal office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays; or dropped off at a participating bank. Those include WESTconsin Credit Union, First National Bank of River Falls, River Falls State Bank, Royal Credit Union and Security Financial Bank.
The Journal’s online poll question this week asked: What are your thoughts on the Gov. Walker recall?
Earlier results point to some people feeling ill:
--Sickened, our democracy is diseased, 66.7%
--Ecstatic, about time, 28.6%
--Still trying to make up my mind, 4.8%.
To share your view, go vote at www.riverfallsjournal.com.