The four neediest at KHS: A helping hand
December 19, 2016
With a staff of 99, TKC tries to give back to the community in some way each holiday season. This year we adopted the Four Neediest Project, modeled after St. Louis Post Dispatch’s annual 100 Neediest Cases feature. In the following stories, you will read about four anonymous families or individuals from each grade-level in need this holiday season. Accompanying these stories is a donation list including specific necessities and some holiday gifts they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. In some cases, a gift card to a grocery or department store may go a long way in making a difference in someone’s life. In addition to our media staffs participating, we invite our readers to lend a helping hand as well. Donations will be collected in South – 162 Journalism and grade-level offices. Any contribution is welcome.
Senior class: in their words
Being in a low-income family is a challenge when your family is as large as mine. My mom makes it a priority to work extra hours and off days in order to support us and pay bills. Like everything, it has its pros and cons, and we know it’s not what she wants to do, but it’s what she has to do. If it weren’t for her, my family would have been evicted several times. I think she knows if she doesn’t work as much as she does, then bills won’t be paid on time. Honestly, this has happened multiple times.
Around Christmas or other special occasions, my parents will buy us gifts with the money that would otherwise be spent on bills. Because of this, my older brother and I choose not to participate in Christmas. We know our family can’t afford the gifts if they can barely afford the roof over our heads. It would be nice to have things, but because I don’t it makes me the non-materialistic person I am today. I’d give a homeless man money before I keep it. I have a roof over my head and they don’t.
My other siblings are usually grateful for what they receive on Christmas until school starts back because they notice everyone will have more than us. The majority of the kids in KSD don’t struggle in ways we do, so they have the privilege of being able to get what they want for special occasions. We don’t usually get what we want, but what we need the basics everyone has clothes, socks, shoes, underwear, etc. But, we have a little of these because the first priority is the bills.
Growing up poor has taught me that this is not what I want for my future children. No one wants to struggle, so it’s hard to look at the bright side sometimes. Since we have so little, we make strong relationships with each other and the people around us, which is so much better than money. It costs $0 to brighten someone’s day and that makes us all happier than anything money can buy.
We get food stamps, but with a big family, it only lasts so long. By the end of the month, we have so little that we are unsure of what to eat for the night. There are times when dinner is bread and syrup or anything else we can find. Then we have to share that evenly between each other but someone is always left out, and we have to depend on our very old grandmother for food and money sometimes.
I know this all sounds really bad, and I’m sorry. I wish things weren’t like this.
Note: Our washer recently quit working, and we’ve had to go back-and-forth to people’s homes to wash or wash them with our hands then dry everything overnight. I’ve had some of my own teachers wash my clothes because we can’t afford to buy a new washer and it’s embarrassing, but I needed it (more than once). My family needs a washer desperately and quickly.
Washer, sheets, comforters, hair and skin care products, coconut oil, Shea moisture shampoo and conditioner, hygiene products, scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, food for the house, socks and underwear
Person A (male):
Shirt size: men’s M
Pant size: 33 waist, 32 length (wears mostly jeans and jogging pants)
Christmas gift: Timberland boots size 9 men
Person B (male):
Christmas gift: Xbox or PlayStation
Person C (female):
Christmas gift: bike
Person D (female):
Shirt size: S/M
Pant size: 2/3
Christmas gift: makeup
Person E (female):
Christmas gift: pink Timberland boots (women’s size 9) or something from Victoria’s Secret
Person F (female):
Shirt size: M
Pant size: 7
Christmas gift: Nike Huaraches
Person G (female):
Shirt size: S/M
Pant size: 0/1
Bra size: 32A
Christmas gift: small laptop (college), Uggs, yoga pants or hoodies
Shoe size: 9
Christmas gift: Puma shoes