Around the holidays, parents who struggle at a regular time of year try desperately to offer their children a Christmas morning to look forward to, yet are forced to turn to unlikely places to do so. While some low income families are able to gain support from various charities, such organizations are pushed to their max during the holidays and are unable to meet the needs of all those who seek help. For this reason, parents are finding alternatives and pleading for help via certain platforms such as Craigslist, Kajiji and social media outlets.
Tyshika Britten, a mother of 5 sons and one baby girl, wanted to provide for her children on Christmas morning but has been stretched very thin lately being a single mother with a job as a hairstylist yet with not enough income to give her children all they need and deserve. She turned to Craigslist after being turned down by a number of charities.
The holidays puts a lot of pressure on poor and working-class families. What do to when you feel the Xmas pinch? https://t.co/licsVnyE2R
— The Kakle Podcast (@TheKakle) December 23, 2016
On her computer, she typed a message pleading for help from whatever kind stranger might read her words, as The Washington Post notes.
“‘I am a mother of six, 5 boys and 1 baby girl,’ she began. Then in a single paragraph, she laid out how her family would soon be evicted from their Maryland home, how she had yet to buy a tree or gifts, how this was the first time she might not be able to give her children a Christmas. ‘I’m so hurt,’ the 35-year-old hairstylist wrote. ‘I’m trying my best. I pray everyday and now I’m begging for help. I know its not about the gifts, but they are kids! I’m such a failure right now. . . please help me.'”
Pleas such as Britten’s on the site, reveal just how much pressure parents of low-income families are under during holiday time. It is typically already a struggle to pay the bills each, month, and an already difficult situation becomes exacerbated when expectations of gift-giving are thrown in. Such posts to the site reveal the lengths that such parents, often single or unemployed, will go to for their children to have something special to wake up to on Christmas morning. As the publication notes, some offer to work in exchange for assistance.
To ease burden on poor families, communities & churches to provide free lunches for children during school holidays https://t.co/mWIhn62MIH
— Tom Atkinson???? (@moorlanddragon) July 25, 2016
The sad truth, however, is that some posts of the kind are not legitimate and are scams created to take advantage of charitable individuals ready to lend a hand. However, organizations that work with families who are in need, are not at all surprised that some families are choosing to look for help elsewhere at Christmastime.
“It’s a high-anxiety time, and there is a bit of desperation,” said Mark Bergel, the founder of A Wider Circle, a nonprofit in Silver Spring, Md., that serves families in need throughout the Washington region. “Some folks will start calling for help with the holidays in May.”
A Wider Circle offers ways for families to be given toys, but it receives as many as 500 calls a day. This season alone, the organization will likely help about 2,500 children and adults by giving them holiday gifts donated by the community. Bergel states that it’s not enough.
“It’s our philosophy to not say no,” he said, “so this season is especially difficult because there is so much demand, and we can’t say yes to everyone.”
Statistics indicate that nationally across the U.S., one in every three children are raised in a low-income family. Data collected by the Working Poor Families Project indicates this.
Bergel admits that needs differ for each family, yet the common request at the moment involves parents that are seeking to bring happiness to their families. “There are a lot of moms looking to provide some joy this holiday season,” he states.
Craigslist demonstrated that this was a common theme based on ads posted for assistance this holiday season. The Post notes examples listed on the site.
“‘I am a single mom of three,’ begins one in Fairfax, Va. ‘I am a stay at home mom of 4 children,’ starts another from Montgomery Village in suburban Maryland. ‘They say trouble don’t last always,’ wrote Juanita Herrin, 34, of Annadale, Va. “I am a divorced mother of 4 battling lupus.”
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]