Mom tries to keep family afloat after dad leaves

Share the Season is an annual campaign that offers one-time aid to people affected by unforeseen hardships. The people are not identified to protect their privacy.

This woman says the recession threatens to tear her family apart. She is trying to hold it together and is seeking help from Share the Season.

Nearly two years ago, the father was laid off work. He had been attending school and working full time. The mother worked full time as well.

The father got another job, part of an internship for school, but he didn't earn as much as he had been.

"We are not eligible for a lot of things. We are working poor," the mother said. "He settled for a job but it wasn't a good job, and we weren't making it."

The family soon went through its savings to help pay for the full-time child care for their toddler and after-school care for their two older children.

The youngest son was then diagnosed with physical and speech delays and required therapy two times a week. And although the family had insurance, the co-pays were nearly $180 a week.

The couple tried to seek some relief by going through a home-mortgage modification program to reduce their monthly mortgage payments but they no longer qualified when he lost his main job.

For now, other family members are helping to pay the couple's mortgage while they look for another house to downsize.

"We have been making monthly payments but we are struggling to make those," the mother said.

Eventually, the father left the family and moved out of state.

The mother has arranged a pay agreement with Westar energy — where the bill is nearly $700 — but she is struggling to meet those payments.

She pays nearly $400 a month in health insurance.

"A gift from Share the Season would have an enormous impact on my life and my children's lives," she wrote on her application. "It would ease some of the emotional and financial stress I am under... It would be a step toward digging out of this huge blackhole of debt I am drowning in."

Share the Season has received $81,282 so far. Among recent donors: anonymous in memory of Daniel Calloway; Betty L. Bays; Deryl and Anita Schuster in memory of Doug Schuster; Anna M. Flynn; Robert and Viola Giebler; Robert and Susan Grelinger; John and Anita Horton; Janis Kiser; Marjorie Looper and Lorie Cunningham; Janet Miller; William and Marva Reeves; James and Shirley Traner; Janet Van Epps; and 17 anonymous donors.

Send contributions to Share the Season at the Wichita Community Foundation, 301 N. Main, Suite 100, Wichita, KS 67202.

To donate online, go to Donors will be listed in The Eagle; please note if you prefer to remain anonymous.

To apply for help: Download an application at, or pick one up at the Salvation Army, 350 N. Market, Wichita, KS 67201. For more information, call 316-263-2769.