Sinton mother says donations to Caller-Times Christmas Appeal helped her family in need

Meagan Falcon
Corpus Christi Caller Times

Seven years ago, Savannah and her three children were in a tough spot financially and emotionally.

The Sinton mother was newly divorced and was struggling to make ends meet as she navigated her way through single parenthood. 

With nowhere to turn, Savannah reached out for help. That was when Sinton for Youth Inc. offered to help her and her family through the Caller-Times Children's Christmas Appeal campaign.

Seven-year-old Harmony Araujo reaches for a Barbie doll during the Caller-Times Children's Christmas Appeal campaign shopping spree, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Portland. Araujo and her sister Ariana wanted Barbies for Christmas.

That year, Savannah said her children were able to purchase two outfits each and were able to buy a toy they wanted for Christmas. 

"I was in a really bad spot trying to keep up with the rent, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get my children the things they needed," she said. "I was really thankful to Sinton for Youth and the Christmas Appeal because they helped us when we were in need. More importantly, they put a smile on my kids' faces."

Four-year-old Olivia Heitmann chooses a dress during her Christmas Appeal shopping spree, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Portland. Heitmann was shopping with her sister Alyssa. The spree is funded through the Caller-Times Children's Christmas Appeal campaign.

Savannah said she's in a much better place now then she was seven years ago, but she attributes the Caller-Times' annual campaign as the reason her children had a great Christmas that year and in the years that followed.

"I know when I was struggling, my kids weren't thinking about themselves. They would never ask for anything because they wanted to make sure I was okay," Savannah said. "But when they were able to buy the things they wanted and needed, they were just so happy.

"When they got home, they'd unwrap their toys, play with them and talk about their day, sometimes they'd continue to share about it days after. For them, that one day changed everything, and it was a big relief for me."

Eight-year-old Joseph Naranjo picks out a toy during the Caller-Times Children's Christmas Appeal campaign shopping spree, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Portland. Naranjo and his siblings shopped for Christmas.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues in the Coastal Bend, Savannah said she believes it's important the community continues to donate to the campaign to help families who are still struggling.

"This year, a lot of families are suffering because of the pandemic. Many are out of work and are unable to make ends meet, and they need the help," Savannah said. "From my experience, a little bit of help goes a long way. Even if it's like $5 or $10, that donation helps. It could pay for a new toy, shoes or an outfit for the kids, but the biggest reward, is it can make a child's day."

What is the Caller-Times Children's Christmas Appeal?

Eileen Troup wears a "Santa's helper" badge during the Caller-Times Children's Christmas Appeal campaign shopping spree, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Portland. Troup is part of the Sinton for Youth, which is involved with the annual Christmas Appeal.

Since 1973, The Caller-Times has reported the struggle of needy children and their families during the holiday season through the Caller-Times Children's Christmas Appeal.

The names of the families profiled have been changed to protect their privacy.

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. This year, the Nueces County Record Star and the Alice Echo-News Journal joined the campaign.

More:Here's why your donation to Caller-Times' Christmas Appeal matters during COVID-19

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.

As of Friday, the campaign had raised more than $34,000 and counting.

HOW TO DONATE

Here’s 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.

Meet the 2020 donors for the Caller-Times Christmas Appeal

Caller-Times Christmas Appeal

IN HONOR OF

  •  The Drown children and grandchildren
  •  Glenna Elliff
  • Elaine Foster

IN MEMORY OF

  • Margarita and Ynocensio Alcoser
  • David Allison
  • Diane Blackmon Barfield
  • Servando Caballero
  • Kim and Roy Cage
  • Dr. J.W. Castroll
  • Clarissa Chapa-Radke
  • Eileen Chovan
  •  Dr. Jim Cottingham
  • Mr. & Mrs. Filomeno Dairocas
  •  Lorenzo and Doris Davis
  • Clara and Dick Davy
  •  Rosa Lee Day
  • Grace Dobson
  •  Dean Dreiling
  •  Mary Rose Dreiling
  •   Mr. & Mrs. M.K. Dulip
  •  Mr. and Mrs. L.D. Eastmade
  •  Randy Eikel
  •  Armengol Farias
  •  Nicki Davis Fischer
  •  Felipe Gonzales Sr.
  •  Percival Grimes
  •  Elizabeth R. Hansen
  •  Robert A. Hansen
  •  Mr. & Mrs. Billy Harrell
  • Carle and Fred Heinsohn
  •  James E. Hicks
  • Henry Hilliard
  •  John C. Hilliard
  •  Maria Gutierrez Huerta
  •  Dora Hyatt
  •  Charles Kaffie
  •  Charles Kensek
  •  Mr. & Mrs. Len Knaffle
  •  Linda Lanphier
  • Mr. Richard Lee Longoria
  • Karl and Guy Ludvigson
  • Sharon Mack
  • Ms. Aida R. Maldonado
  • Mauricio Rene Martinez
  •  Edith Daniel McCarty
  • Janice Kay McCarty
  • Robert Curtis McCarty
  • Jeffrey Allen McFarland
  •  Bobbie, George, and Larry McLeroy
  • Roy Morin
  • Mr. and Mrs. E.G. Morrow
  • Dr. James D. Mullins
  •  Jose M. Nino
  • Jane Noe
  • Mr. and Mrs. F.C. Payne
  • Travis Peeler
  • Amanda Ramirez
  • Rolando Ramirez
  • John Austin Rank
  • Paul and Lillian Reader
  • Jon Paul Reyes
  • Josephine and Vincent Rivas
  • Kenneth Roseman
  • Sandro Rossi
  •  Vanna Rossi
  • Abel, Cande, and Frank Salazar
  • Octavio, Dorita, and Chaca Salinas
  • Naomi Santana
  •  Benjamin Santos
  • Ruth and Joseph Sheinberg
  • Dr. Anthony J. Slowik Sr.
  • Douglas and Pauline Smith
  • George and Ida Solka
  • Richard S. Stiltner
  • Frank Sumney
  • Guy and Steve Thompson
  •  Joseph and Eileen Vegh
  •  Rev. and Mrs. F.A. Walton
  •  Lois Wells
  • Dub & Dorothy Whitley
  •  Travis Whitman
  •  Jarrett Ryan Whittington
  • Ken Wingfield
  • M.G. and Ruth Wright

DONORS

  •     Bruce Abel
  •     Chris and Robert Adler
  •     Gaylord Austin
  •     "Daniela Badea-Mic, MD"
  •     Jim Barnette
  •     Mary Ann Cavazos Beckett
  •     Phil and Barbie Boeck
  •     Fred Braselton
  •     Michael Brewer
  •     A L Bryan
  •     Maria C. Carey
  •     Mr. and Mrs. Scott Carmichael
  •     Dr. John and Nicole Carroll
  •     Corina Carter
  •     Raul & Olga Castillo
  •     Carl and Sylvia Chatelain
  •     Joy & Don Cramer
  •     Freddie Cruz
  •     Luis & Angie Cuevas
  •     Anne Davis Family
  •     John and Dorothy Drew
  •     Peggy and Jose Miguel Duran
  •     Phyllis M. Farmer
  •     Ada Weil Fish
  •     Ellen Flood
  •     Marlis Frank
  •     Frances Zoch Fulton
  •     Alicia S. Garza
  •     Sally and James Gill
  •     Sally L. Goldston
  •     Dr. Mary Jane and Robert Hamilton
  •     Pat Harris
  •     David Harvey
  •     Ken and Laurel Herring
  •     Kathryn O. Hooper
  •     Terri C. Hosey
  •     Tom and Dollie Hunt
  •     Isabel
  •     The Johnson Family
  •     Judy Jordan
  •     John Gerald Kelly
  •     Carol Kins
  •     Mr. and Mrs. George A. Klamo Sr
  •     Annette and Mel Klein, Jenna Klein, and Jacqueline Klein
  •     Kelsey Krnavek and Stacia Krnavek
  •     CLK Architects & Associates
  •     Iris and Andy Lehrman
  •     Estela and Ruben Lopez
  •     Wayne and Courtney Lundquist
  •     Dick and Lucy McCracken
  •     John and Linda McGowan
  •     Ron & Dylcia McKenzie
  •     Dr. Lupe Morales
  •     Reynaldo and Josefa Narvaiz
  •     Donald K.and Dr. Vickie C. Natale
  •     Dr.  and Mrs. James L. Owens
  •     Barry and Nan Pillinger
  •     Ed and Rita Reed
  •     Billy and Becky Rios
  •     Desi and Olga S. Rodriguez
  •     Jeanette and Robert Roper
  •     Mary J. Ross
  •     Carmen Salazar
  •     Cathy and Jack Scholl
  •     John Shreves
  •     Brent P. Smith
  •     Bob and Mary Sorrells
  •     Bill and Beth Stockley
  •     Willa Thomasson
  •     James Trauger
  •     Ben and Flora Trujillo
  •     Carlos and Consuelo Valdez
  •     George Webb
  •     Sandie and Joel Weiss
  •     Jim and Sylvia Whitworth
  •     Eudocia E. Ybarra
  •     Charlie and Linda Zahn
  •     Dr. John T. and Bonnie Dugan
  •     Southside Lions Club of Corpus Christi
  •     Fred W. Heldenfels, III
  •     San Marin Laundry Co., LLC/William Marin

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