By Amanda Keister
The Daily Item
SUNBURY — The five years since Mary fled an abusive relationship have been difficult.
The woman, who asked that her real name not be used, has asked for help from the Needy Family Fund to provide a Christmas for her children.
"I'm so far behind on bills that all my money's got to go to bills," she said. "There's nothing I can do for the kids this year."
This mother of two 14- and 10-year-old boys and a 9-year-old girl, however, is thankful.
"Thank God my kids are at least kids that they don't care that it's a used toy," she said. "It doesn't have to be brand new to make them happy. They appreciate whatever they get."
In fact, Mary's 10-year-old son has a unique Christmas wish this year: a lawn mower.
He made the wish, she said, "so he can go out and mow lawns to help Mamma pay bills; my oldest wants to do the same thing. They understand."
This is the first year Mary has asked for help from the Needy Family Fund, a decision that did not come easily for her.
"I'd rather do it on my own, at least I try to do everything on my own," she said. "I feel like I'm in this situation because I put myself in this situation (when I left my husband), but I would rather take care of my kids and make sure they're safe."
Despite difficult time, the family is holding on to their traditions. Just before talking with The Daily Item, Mary and her children gathered around their table to make Christmas ornaments while listening to Christmas music, something they do every year.
"I'm a strong believer that Christmas is for kids and I just want my kids to be happy," she said. "We try to keep with tradition. This is something I've done every since my kids were born."