Empty Stocking: Accident leaves family without vehicle

HEATHER RUTZ 419-993-2094 •

December 16, 2013

LIMA — The little girls’ eyes twinkle as they sit on the couch hugging each other and laughing.

Verna and John love having them, despite the challenges the family has faced this year.

The girls, ages 4 and 2, are Verna and John’s granddaughters. Their eldest daughter is the girls’ mother, and she is “in and out” of their lives,” Verna said.

“We’ve really had them since they were babies,” Verna said.

Verna and John have two other children, a 19-year-old, and an 8-year-old, who are also still at home.

The biggest challenge this year came with a September car accident in which the family’s van was wrecked. It was the family’s only reliable vehicle, and the only vehicle that fit everyone in the family at once.

Also, for much of the year, John’s hours at work were not consistent. The family saw a reduction in its food assistance. Occasionally John and Verna go without medication they’re supposed to take for things such as high blood pressure, to make ends meet.

One bright spot is that he just got a good job and is about to start. Verna is looking at income tax time to have the cash for a new vehicle.

“We’ve had a lot on our plate this year,” Verna said. “It took a lot for me to ask for help. I’d rather be the one giving, not receiving.”

The girls need pants, shirts and underwear, and could use a bunk bed. The 2-year-old is wearing 3T and the 4-year-old is wearing a size 7. The 8-year-old is wearing a misses’ 14. All three girls like educational toys and dolls.

The Empty Stocking Fund benefits three cooperating agencies, Bradfield Community Center, Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center and the Salvation Army. Money can be donated by sending it to The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima OH 45807, or by dropping it off at any Superior Federal Credit Union branch. Donations of new toys and nonperishable food items will be accepted at The Lima News office. These stories use assumed names to protect the participants’ privacy.