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Operation Holiday: Mom of five in dire financial straits after escaping abusive husband

Just a few weeks before Christmas, Tiffany, a mom of five, finds her life turned upside down. Her husband was recently evicted from their house after she made the difficult decision to file a PFA order against him for physical and verbal abuse towards herself and their children.

With her husband as the family breadwinner, Tiffany suddenly finds herself unable to pay her bills while navigating a maze of court hearings and paperwork.

“I’m trying not to have a heart attack,” she said.

Complicating matters further, Tiffany is unable to work due to a number of severe health issues, including heart disease, PTSD and agoraphobia. She receives $1,500 a month in disability and child support payments, roughly equivalent to her mortgage payment.

“We had a very tight budget anyway,” she said. “Now I’m living on $300 a week with five kids. I haven’t even been able to pay the mortgage.”

Tiffany has applied for food stamps and other services but has yet to receive any responses. She is currently at a loss.

“I am not sure what to do,” she said. “I have no idea.”

Tiffany is no stranger to adversity, having experienced hardships throughout her entire life. She is now trying to spare her children the same fate.

“I’ve had nothing but hardships. I’m used to it in my life,” she said. “I’m trying not to make it their life at this point.”

As the holiday season approached, Tiffany’s children, ages 5-16, had asked for Christmas gifts, including video games, a phone and art supplies, but are now consumed with confusion and fear about their situation.

“I feel bad for them. They don’t understand what’s going on,” she said. “They’re very compassionate. They’re hoping that their dad is safe.”

Despite her family’s dire circumstances, Tiffany is determined to give her children a good Christmas.

“I just want to create one day where they don’t have to think and worry about things, where they’re not hiding in the corner crying,” she said. “I just want them to not have to worry for one day.”

Operation Holiday

Operation Holiday was started in 1991 at The Mercury in Pottstown to help families going through tough times provide something for their children during the holidays. The mission of the program is to make sure there is food on the table and gifts under the tree when Christmas morning comes.

Now in its 33rd year, the program has served thousands of families throughout Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties, expanding its reach in recent years to include communities served by Reading Eagle, The Times Herald, The Reporter, and Daily Local News.

More than $91,000 in donations last year provided food and gifts for 451 children and 199 families, plus cash donations to food pantries in Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties.

This year, Operation Holiday has partnered with 19 agencies in the tri-county area. Agencies have referred 165 families with 419 children for gifts and food.

There is no overhead with Operation Holiday and all funds stay local. Funds are collected and audited in a non-profit foundation account managed by staff of MediaNews Group who volunteer their time.

Gift cards to area grocery stores are provided to each family for food, so that they can purchase the fixings for a holiday dinner as well as staples for the pantry. Weis Markets is a partner with Operation Holiday and has assisted with food purchases and gift cards.

Gift cards for every child in the program 16 years of age or younger are purchased through Boscov’s and distributed in partnership with the referring agencies so that families can purchase gifts of their choice.

Operation Holiday does not accept families who have not been referred by an agency.

Operation Holiday is funded solely by reader contributions. All contributions are tax-deductible.

HOW TO DONATE

Online donations are being accepted in a secure portal in partnership with TriCounty Community Network. Visit https://tcnetwork.org/ and click on the link for Operation Holiday.

Contributions can be mailed with checks payable to Operation Holiday to PO Box 1181, Pottstown PA 19464; The Reporter, 307 Derstine Ave., Lansdale PA 19446;  Operation Holiday, 1440 Lacrosse Ave., Reading, PA 19607.

The names of all contributors are published in the participating newspapers as donations are received.  Please note whether a contribution should be designated as anonymous or given in tribute or in memory of someone.


Source: Berkshire mont

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