Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas #9

It is hard to believe that 9 years ago we were spending our first Christmas with "our kids".  How time has flown by.

When Mr. Thornton asked us to help him with these kids that his wife left with him, we had no idea how we would manage.  The first few years were a flurry of agencies and endless paperwork, only to find that for Mr. Thornton there was little help available for a step-parent who was on Social Security and SSI.  The SSI denies him the right to earn any kind of income, so we were stuck.

Our goal was to keep this little family together in a home that provided at least the essentials for living - food, clothing and necessities.  For 9 years many Angels have answered the call.  We often think about where they would be if it wasn't for you.

Life with their mom on the streets meant little babies and toddlers with little food, no clothes and no supervision, left to fend for themselves as they roamed the streets.  What would the girls be doing to get by?  What would a little boy who suffers from abuse and neglect on top of ADHD symptoms be doing?  Where would they all be now?  The thought makes us cringe, and our minds just don't want to go there.

Marquel is now 16 and in 10th grade, Annie is 14 in 8th grade, Charlie is 11 in 6th grade, and Chip is 8 in 3rd grade.  Marquel has no memory of school in New Orleans, yet she is on the AB honor roll every semester!  Annie and Marquel love school, love their teachers, and have never been in any serious trouble.  Charlie has had awesome, caring teachers who have worked hard to help him be successful in the classroom.  Chip is always happy and smiling.  They are all smart enough to do whatever they set their minds to, in spite of a an alcoholic mother and the early years of neglect and abuse.

This year Mr. Thornton has taken another hit with a 25% reduction in his food stamps.  He loves to cook, and rarely cooks anything out of a box, preferring rice and beans and gumbo.  But now he doesn't get enough to cover the rice, beans, milk and bread, while trying to satisfy the appetite of growing kids.  While we understand the desire to wean people off welfare and back into productive citizens, there are those such as Mr. Thornton who fall into a crack in the system.

This means that more of his meager income has to be spent on food, leaving less for other necessities such as soaps, paper products, laundry detergent, hygiene products and money needed for gas and auto maintenance.  He told us he is down to 1 pair of jeans for himself and is need of warm long-sleeved shirts.

One of the biggest lessons that we have had to learn is that of humility.  We have had to ask for help for the Thornton family when we would much prefer not to.  We have learned how many generous Angels there are, and we are so thankful for all of you!

If you would like to help the Thornton family, there are several ways that you can do it:

Gift Cards to Walmart or HEB are always appreciated
Visa Gift cards for gas, auto maintenance or other necessities
Cards can be delivered or sent to us or directly to Mr. Thornton (email me to request address)

Cash donations that are tax deductible can be made through St. John Lutheran Church - be sure to mark "Thornton Fund" - and can be a one time gift or an on-going monthly gift.  If you would like the cash donation to be used to purchase a gift card, email me and I will arrange for that.

Randy and I along with Mr. Thornton, thank you for your continued support.

Merry Christmas ~ and a great New Year to you all!

Randy and Stephanie
Mr. Thornton, Marquel, Annie, Charlie and Chip

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