Catholic Charities staff came across the family in a Food For Less parking lot. Just passing through, they witnessed a tow truck driver sliding up the back door of a U-Haul truck. He discovered a husband, wife, and three children living in the back. The tow truck driver was there to take the U-Haul back to the nearest rental location. Catholic Charities Staff stopped to see if they could help.
The family’s home did not have a shower, a place to sit down and eat, or even a bathroom, but days before Christmas, the only home the family could afford was about to be driven away. The family watched tearfully as the truck they had been living in rolled away. The back of the truck was not what most people would call a home, but it was the closest thing to a home the family could afford since they had been evicted.
It was not that long ago that the family lived with their two dogs in an apartment just a few blocks away. As the sole provider for his family, the husband was devastated when he was laid off from his job. He made a modest living working as a janitor at a local outlet mall while his wife cared for their mentally disabled son and two daughters—one of them an infant. With no income and little savings in the bank, the family was forced to leave their apartment.
Catholic Charities’ staff members were able to intervene and provide immediate assistance to the family. Staff worked diligently with the family to apply for unemployment benefits, Medi-Cal health coverage, and CalFresh benefits that the husband did not know his family was eligible to receive. Catholic Charities was also able to provide the family with temporary housing over the Holiday Season, grocery vouchers for food, a laundry card to wash their clothes, and Christmas toys and goodies for their children.
For Catholic Charities, the Christmas Miracle for this family was that staff was able to locate rarely available, permanent housing for the family through another community agency. Since the holidays, Catholic Charities has continued to work with the family to help them regain stability. Staff is currently providing job search skills and support to the husband, so he can return to work as soon as possible.
In the weeks and days before Christmas, Catholic Charities offered Christmas joy to over 1,500 struggling families, making the season brighter for over 3,600 children in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Holiday activities included adopt-a-family, the distribution of toys, holiday meals, gift cards, food baskets, and shoes and clothing. Catholic Charities was able to bring the miracle of Christmas to so many in need with the help of volunteers, community partnerships, and private donations.