I had just come out of my second marriage, which only lasted three months, but left me pregnant with my fifth child. I didn't have a job because my husband had insisted that I not work. So here I was, pregnant, no job, no husband and four children to feed and clothe. It's funny, although I was scared, we somehow managed to get by. Before my marriage, I had been working to help build my home through a government program called Self-Help housing.
I moved into my new home in May of 1982 and was so proud of my accomplishment.. I did have food stamps, which didn't go that far with that many mouths to feed. Not many businesses at that time wanted to hire a very pregnant woman, but I finally found a job as a waitress.
My daughter was born on November 2, 1982 which was joyous. I now began receiving $15 a week in child support which helped, but didn't really go very far. Christmas was fast approaching and I didn't know how, but I knew I was going to finally have to tell my young children the truth about Santa Claus. I just didn't have the means to provide Christmas presents; I was just barely making ends meet with the small amount of welfare that I was receiving. I had tried, in vain, to find a job but the local economy didn't offer much. A few days before Christmas, the door bell rang. There stood a lady from my church, Kristen Bell. She had a mason jar full of money. She said that every year she and her children save all of their change and at Christmas time vote on what needy family they want that money to go to. They had chosen ME. I couldn't believe my ears! I had never asked for help and tried not to let anyone know how desperate my situation was...but somehow she knew. Tears streamed down my face as I thanked her.