ShareThis Page
Job losses leave Latrobe family struggling |

Job losses leave Latrobe family struggling

| Thursday, November 27, 2003 12:00 a.m

Warming the body is one thing.

Keeping spirits aglow is another for a Latrobe family of five that is facing the holidays with a limited income and three young children to feed and clothe.

“We met them through our after-school program,” said Darlene Means, of the Salvation Army’s Latrobe Community Worship Service Center. “They have three boys, ages 7 through 12, and the children were coming in with no coats during those cold days in September.”

Operation Bundle Up stepped in to provide some warm winter clothing, Means said. But talking to the family made it clear that something more than coats was in order.

“Talking to the parents, we found out that they both work temporary jobs,” Means said. “They hadn’t been able to find any other employment for a while, and they need some help through the Christmas season.”

The couple, in their mid-30s, has a home, but they’ve lost the jobs they held when they bought their house, Means explained. Now they’re struggling to maintain the mortgage and keep a vehicle running, along with paying utility bills and insurance costs.

That doesn’t leave much to buy food, clothing and other necessities, let alone to provide holiday treats and gifts for children.

With temporary employment, “you often make less than minimum wage, and it’s only for 30 or 60 days, and then you don’t know where or when you’ll get more work,” Means said. “It makes it hard.”

But help is on the way, thanks to Operation Santa Claus.

This year Operation Santa Claus will pack 7,840 shopping bags with the fixings for a nutritious holiday meal: a $10 gift certificate for a meat of the family’s choice, plus scalloped potatoes, stuffing, green beans, whole-kernel corn, fruit-flavored gelatin, fruit cocktail, applesauce, blueberry muffins, snack crackers, holiday cookies and hot cocoa.

In addition, 9,385 stockings will be crammed with sweets, treats and books for children ages 12 and younger.

is a former freelancer.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.