The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 3, 2012

One paycheck family faces tough times with baby on the way

By Barb Ritchey
The Daily Item

SUNBURY — Sheila is due to deliver her third child on Christmas Eve, and while that will be a happy occasion for her family, it also poses more financial challenges.

That’s partly why the Sunbury mother, 29, and her husband, 28, are seeking assistance this year through the Salvation Army and the Needy Family Fund.

Her husband works in construction, so while she estimates their monthly income at $1,400, it can vary from week to week, depending on his job. He could earn as little as $100 a week, she said.

The family receives $196 a month in food stamps, but the monthly bills include a mortgage payment of $464, a water-sewer bill of $90 and utilities totaling $166.

Sheila said this is the first year they have sought assistance from the Salvation Army.

“I’m usually the one buying for everyone else, but with the bills, the economy, higher prices, it’s just too much for us,” she said. “We’re recently married, and I just moved here in April from Williamsport.”

The two daughters, ages 2 and 10, don’t expect a lot for Christmas.

“Basically, we’re hoping for stuff for the kids, so they have a pretty good Christmas,” Sheila said of seeking aid from the Salvation Army. “Money is tight with the baby on the way and all the bills.”

The older daughter likes the Monster High Dolls. Her mom said she’s really community-minded, likes to help others and is involved in church.

Their 2-year-old likes musical toys and dolls.

The Needy Family Fund, sponsored by The Daily Item, Sunbury Broadcasting Corp. and Susquehanna Bank, raises money during the holidays to aid the Valley’s less fortunate. It is administered by Salvation Army citadels in Sunbury and Milton. Donations also can be left with Susquehanna Bank offices in Sunbury, Selinsgrove, Milton, Lewisburg, Shamokin West, Shamokin East, Kulpmont, Mount Carmel and Pillow.

This year’s goal is $75,000. Today’s balance is $11,870. Recent contributors are as follows: Vickie Ritter, Selinsgrove, $50; the Minium family, Milton, $50; Sunbury Democratic Committee, $200; Jackie Piermattei, Sunbury, $100; Harold and Sondra Noecker, Northumberland, $100; Glenn and Mary Miller, Lewisburg, $1,500; and anonymous donations, $350.