The plight of the 10 families featured in The Monitor’s Spirit of Christmas campaign has quickly moved local residents to show their generosity, with many donating materials, time, services and money toward a common goal: to help the helpless.
In doing so, these efforts have also reflected the need that still exists in the Rio Grande Valley for tens of thousands of families who have been torn apart by illnesses, untimely deaths or financial constraints.
The Monitor, in partnership with the United Way of South Texas, who represents the families’ needs and are responsible for managing the contributions, has compiled a list of nine additional families whose needs are aplenty.
Except in one case, these individuals live under vulnerable circumstances and their identities have been withheld as a result.
For information on how you can donate to these families, call the United Way of South Texas at (956) 686-6331, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Needs vary per family, but all are in need of clothes, and the United Way can provide information about children’s sizes.
United Way selected these families and does not keep any proceeds donated. In their capacity, United Way also manages the contributions to the families, many of whom would struggle to even manage their own donations.
They’re from Mission, Pharr, Hidalgo and Garceño.
>> Norma Navejar’s oldest son Alejandro wanted to help.
Navejar, a mother of two who works to clean homes in exchange for food, has been dealing with diabetes, anemia, high blood pressure, and is fighting a stomach infection. Her income is a monthly Social Security check and lacks medical insurance to afford some of the testing and medication needed.
To provide, Alejandro wants to study diesel mechanics. He’s in school now.
The family would appreciate money for food, medical treatment and proper housing.
>> FAMILY OF 8: Two parents and their six children have moved several times because they’ve been unable to afford rent. Such is their need that the mother’s source of income is collecting coupons to buy items for raffle at Bingo games, which she holds to make money. The father is a handyman without steady work, and purchases old cars to rebuild and sell for money.
This family from Pharr needs help paying rent and their bills, and could use winter clothes, blankets, baby needs, such as diapers since these kids range from 2 months to 2 years old, as well as hygiene products.
>> FAMILY OF 5: Caring for three children together, a mother and father from Pharr struggling to provide for their family are in need of assistance. The father works as a handyman and the mother is devoted to raising their children — including a 7-year-old girl born with spina bifida — amid living conditions described as “extremely poor” by United Way.
Winter clothes, blankets and hygiene items are in need for this family in addition to financial assistance paying their bills and rent.
>> FAMILY OF 7: He cuts yards and does odd jobs to help pay the bills. She sells clothes or plates of food to do her part. This is how one couple from Pharr gets by, providing for their five children, all of whom live in modest conditions.
Their needs include winter clothes, shoes, blankets and hygiene products, as well as help paying their rent and bills.
>> FAMILY OF 6: The mother of a family of six buys fruits and vegetables for resell to help support four children. Together with her husband, who does odd jobs to earn money, she also helps provide by making meals to sell as well as holding garage sales. This is just to make it through the month, as this Pharr family struggles in their modest confines to earn money for rent, let alone for items that everyone featured here needs: clothes, blankets and personal hygiene necessities.
>> ANOTHER FAMILY OF 6: Living in what United Way described as “extreme poverty,” the mother and father of a family of six work the fields to pay rent and afford the bills. The mother also sells whatever items she can, as this family from Pharr struggles to not only afford living expenses such as the rent, clothes, blankets and personal hygiene items, but even a bed for a child as one of their four children sleeps in a chair.
>> FAMILY OF 4: The parents are undocumented; their children are U.S. citizens. Without stable income and living modestly in conditions United Way described as “poor,” the family is currently caring for a newborn. The mother delivered the child via an emergency c-section. The father is a handyman who provides as much as he can.
They are in need of a new mattress for a queen size bed frame, baby items such as diapers and a car seat, as well as clothes, blankets and hygiene products in addition to financial assistance to pay the bills.
>> FAMILY OF 4: In search for a better life in the United States, a single mother donates blood to try to make ends meet for her and her three children.
Like many in her situation, she has trouble paying her bills and rent. She also has no one to help care for her baby and stays home as a result. Clothes for the family — especially now during the winter months — are in need, as are hygiene products and blankets.
>> FAMILY OF 8: A family of two immigrant parents and six children are in need of financial assistance. The father is a construction worker and auto-mechanic who has had trouble finding steady work. The mother works at a local tortilleria and is the breadwinner of the family. Having to focus on the family’s necessities, she is sad knowing that she will not be able to provide Christmas presents to her children this year.
The Garceño family lives a few miles west of the lines of the Rio Grande Valley inside a modest three-bedroom, one-bathroom house. The three youngest children are currently in elementary school and love attending. One dreams of being a police officer, and another a teacher.