Stories

Good News of Christmas

By Kelly Wilson 21 Nov, 2017

This single mom with a young child is described as hard-working and caring by her caseworker. She recently has obtained full-time employment and wants to complete her GED to get on track to become a nurse one day. Any help she can get this Christmas will be appreciated, as she struggles to balance work with motherhood and making ends meet.

Wish List: Everyday household items like a hand mixer are on the wish list, as are a teal or navy blue queen-size comforter set with sheets and brown bath towels. Her young child wants age-appropriate toys that include John Deere items, a camouflaged bean-bag chair and house slippers. The family also would benefit from a mini-tablet.

By Kelly Wilson 20 Nov, 2017

The mother in this case fled a violent relationship, taking her two young children to live with her mother and start anew. The children's father refused to allow them any of the clothing, toys or basic items from the home, despite a court order. He destroyed their belongings, and mom now is left trying to cover their new living expenses and start over.

Wish list: This small family needs a full-size mattress and bed frame, as well as bedding. They are also requesting a gas weed eater, toys and clothing for two young girls, and mom is asking for clothing and two bar clamps.

By Kelly Wilson 20 Nov, 2017

QUINCY -- After burning through her paid time off following the birth of her fifth child, money was tight for Marty Gonzalez and her family.

Gonzalez, who teaches severely disabled children and works a second job, had to miss additional time after her maternity leave ended. Christmas was fast approaching, and it looked like the children would have to go without presents.

"We didn't really think Christmas was going to be a big deal that year," Gonzalez said. "We weren't going to be able to do much because we wouldn't be able to afford it."

A woman from the family's church helped to get Gonzalez qualified for the Good News of Christmas, an annual campaign conducted by The Herald-Whig to help families in need.

Each of the children received new clothes and toys, but the family also got a new vacuum and other household appliances. An interest survey is conducted to determine the needs of families selected for the program. Without the donations, Gonzalez assumes the children's gifts that Christmas would have gone on a credit card.

"I have a minivan, and I had to pull the seats down when I picked everything up. I didn't think it was going to fit," Gonzalez said. "I wasn't expecting that much. I was just expecting a few things for the kids."

The Gonzalezes were selected for the Good News of Christmas in 2012, and the experience has served as a learning tool. Since benefiting from the program, Gonzalez has tried to pay it forward and teach her children to give back to the community. Last year, the family adopted two veterans at the Illinois Veterans Home, and they volunteer at the animal shelter where they found their 2-year-old husky, Lady.

"We see how much of a difference it made in our lives," Gonzalez said.

The Good News of Christmas is beginning its 29th campaign today and is supported by the United Way and its partnering agencies in West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.

"It's great to see our area communities come together for such a great cause," said Eric Wait, Herald-Whig marketing manager and Good News coordinator. "Without all of the volunteers and donors, Good News wouldn't be possible."

The Good News campaign has assisted hundreds of families across the region during the previous 28 years. Families and individuals are nominated by social service agencies and screened by a United Way committee. Recipients may only be chosen for the program once.

"Most people at some point in their lives come across a difficult time," Wait said "The families being chosen are truly in need."

The Good News campaign has historically helped women who fled abusive relationships with their children and are starting out on their own and need help, or families who are facing financial hardships because of lost jobs or medical bills. Others may be trying to recover from a tragedy, such as a house fire or a death in the family.

An emphasis is placed on families with children under age 13.

Information about the cases will be published in The Herald-Whig over the next few weeks.

"This is one of the most important things The Herald-Whig does," Wait said. "It really brightens up peoples' lives during the holiday season."

Wait hopes the campaign will help about 50 cases this year. Monetary donations are accepted, and those who want to help can adopt cases by covering the expenses. Wait said there are many different ways to get involved with the campaign.

"I'm happy to say the United Way and Herald-Whig have been doing this for so long," said Morgan Parker, United Way community impact associate. "We're able to come in and pick up people's spirits to make sure they have a great Christmas."

HOW TO HELP

To adopt a case or volunteer, call the United Way HelpLine at 224-1223.

The volunteer center will be in the Quincy Mall community room. The center will open from Nov. 27 to Dec. 13. Hours will be 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Financial donations may be mailed to The Herald-Whig, Good News of Christmas, P.O. Box 909, Quincy IL 62306.

Good News of Christmas

By Kelly Wilson 21 Nov, 2017

This single mom with a young child is described as hard-working and caring by her caseworker. She recently has obtained full-time employment and wants to complete her GED to get on track to become a nurse one day. Any help she can get this Christmas will be appreciated, as she struggles to balance work with motherhood and making ends meet.

Wish List: Everyday household items like a hand mixer are on the wish list, as are a teal or navy blue queen-size comforter set with sheets and brown bath towels. Her young child wants age-appropriate toys that include John Deere items, a camouflaged bean-bag chair and house slippers. The family also would benefit from a mini-tablet.

By Kelly Wilson 20 Nov, 2017

The mother in this case fled a violent relationship, taking her two young children to live with her mother and start anew. The children's father refused to allow them any of the clothing, toys or basic items from the home, despite a court order. He destroyed their belongings, and mom now is left trying to cover their new living expenses and start over.

Wish list: This small family needs a full-size mattress and bed frame, as well as bedding. They are also requesting a gas weed eater, toys and clothing for two young girls, and mom is asking for clothing and two bar clamps.

By Kelly Wilson 20 Nov, 2017

QUINCY -- After burning through her paid time off following the birth of her fifth child, money was tight for Marty Gonzalez and her family.

Gonzalez, who teaches severely disabled children and works a second job, had to miss additional time after her maternity leave ended. Christmas was fast approaching, and it looked like the children would have to go without presents.

"We didn't really think Christmas was going to be a big deal that year," Gonzalez said. "We weren't going to be able to do much because we wouldn't be able to afford it."

A woman from the family's church helped to get Gonzalez qualified for the Good News of Christmas, an annual campaign conducted by The Herald-Whig to help families in need.

Each of the children received new clothes and toys, but the family also got a new vacuum and other household appliances. An interest survey is conducted to determine the needs of families selected for the program. Without the donations, Gonzalez assumes the children's gifts that Christmas would have gone on a credit card.

"I have a minivan, and I had to pull the seats down when I picked everything up. I didn't think it was going to fit," Gonzalez said. "I wasn't expecting that much. I was just expecting a few things for the kids."

The Gonzalezes were selected for the Good News of Christmas in 2012, and the experience has served as a learning tool. Since benefiting from the program, Gonzalez has tried to pay it forward and teach her children to give back to the community. Last year, the family adopted two veterans at the Illinois Veterans Home, and they volunteer at the animal shelter where they found their 2-year-old husky, Lady.

"We see how much of a difference it made in our lives," Gonzalez said.

The Good News of Christmas is beginning its 29th campaign today and is supported by the United Way and its partnering agencies in West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.

"It's great to see our area communities come together for such a great cause," said Eric Wait, Herald-Whig marketing manager and Good News coordinator. "Without all of the volunteers and donors, Good News wouldn't be possible."

The Good News campaign has assisted hundreds of families across the region during the previous 28 years. Families and individuals are nominated by social service agencies and screened by a United Way committee. Recipients may only be chosen for the program once.

"Most people at some point in their lives come across a difficult time," Wait said "The families being chosen are truly in need."

The Good News campaign has historically helped women who fled abusive relationships with their children and are starting out on their own and need help, or families who are facing financial hardships because of lost jobs or medical bills. Others may be trying to recover from a tragedy, such as a house fire or a death in the family.

An emphasis is placed on families with children under age 13.

Information about the cases will be published in The Herald-Whig over the next few weeks.

"This is one of the most important things The Herald-Whig does," Wait said. "It really brightens up peoples' lives during the holiday season."

Wait hopes the campaign will help about 50 cases this year. Monetary donations are accepted, and those who want to help can adopt cases by covering the expenses. Wait said there are many different ways to get involved with the campaign.

"I'm happy to say the United Way and Herald-Whig have been doing this for so long," said Morgan Parker, United Way community impact associate. "We're able to come in and pick up people's spirits to make sure they have a great Christmas."

HOW TO HELP

To adopt a case or volunteer, call the United Way HelpLine at 224-1223.

The volunteer center will be in the Quincy Mall community room. The center will open from Nov. 27 to Dec. 13. Hours will be 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Financial donations may be mailed to The Herald-Whig, Good News of Christmas, P.O. Box 909, Quincy IL 62306.

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