Christmas Appeal: Disabled grandparents raising eight grandchildren need holiday help

KINGSVILLE — Years after the roof of her longtime home caved on top of her and her sleeping grandson during Hurricane Harvey, Sandra and her family of 11 have finally settled into their new home.

With holes in the roof and floor, Sandra's family waited years before receiving approval for a new house built by the Texas General Land Office’s homeowner assistance program. The family, then only nine people, spent six months in a hotel sharing only three beds.

Sandra and her common-law husband, Paul, are currently raising eight grandchildren, ages ranging from 1 to 17, who were placed in their care by child protective services. Most of the kids came to Sandra and Paul when they were babies.

“My kids, they have a lot of anger issues since they were little because of what they went through,” Sandra said. “They have their good days and bad days. ... It gets hard sometimes, but we manage. We make it through.”

Little boys wrestle in the living room while the older kids spend their time in the back of the house, often with friends from school. Earlier in the day, the family began rearranging furniture to make room for a Christmas tree. Though living with 11 people in a four-bedroom home can be difficult — Sandra's mother-in-law also lives with the family — Sandra says they get by.

“I call it my crazy house,” Sandra said. “My kids’ friends are always over too, so it’s never a dull moment here. It’s never quiet.”

Both Sandra and Paul are disabled. Sandra’s nieces serve as their providers. With more mouths to feed and rising utility bills, this year’s Christmas budget will be tight.

“This year is going to be a lot harder because there’s more kids,” Sandra explained. “A lot of my kids are getting older and they want more stuff.”

Seven-year-old Max, like some of the older boys, wants shoes but this time not from Walmart. His twin sister, Isabella, asked for fidget toys while fumbling with a leftover piece of bubble wrap in the kitchen.

"I tell these kids that they are fortunate, I mean, they have a roof over their head and everything,” Sandra said. “You know, we struggle but we do it still. It’ll take a while sometimes, but we’ll get it.”

Since 1973, The Caller-Times has reported the struggle of needy children and their families during the holiday season. All of the money donated to the Christmas Appeal campaign benefits the children because all overhead costs are borne by the Caller-Times, United Way of the Coastal Bend and participating agencies.
Since 1973, The Caller-Times has reported the struggle of needy children and their families during the holiday season. All of the money donated to the Christmas Appeal campaign benefits the children because all overhead costs are borne by the Caller-Times, United Way of the Coastal Bend and participating agencies.

The children represent thousands who will be helped by the Caller-Times Children's Christmas Appeal. The names of the families profiled have been changed to protect their privacy.

Since 1973, the Caller-Times has reported the struggle of needy children and their families during the holiday season. All the money donated to the Christmas Appeal campaign benefits the children; all overhead costs are borne by the Caller-Times, United Way of the Coastal Bend, and participating agencies.

Participating agencies include Boys & Girls Club of Alice, Duval County Christmas Committee, the Kleberg County Welfare Department, Nueces County Department of Social Services, the Odyssey After School Enrichment Program in Rockport, Sinton for Youth Inc. and the Purple Door.

HOW TO DONATE

Here are three ways to help:

*Fill out the donation form on Page 2A. Make your check or money order payable to Children’s Christmas Appeal and mail to: United Way of Coastal Bend, 4659 Everhart Road, Corpus Christi, TX, 78411 (designate funds to Children's Christmas Appeal)

*Donate online at www.uwcb.org. Look for the Christmas Appeal logo.

*Text ChristmasAppeal (no spaces) to 41444 to make a donation.

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This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Disabled grandparents raising eight grandchildren need holiday help