NEW COLUMBIA — A New Columbia woman just wants to see her kids happy this Christmas after an incredibly heartbreaking two-year stretch.

Jo Francis’ husband suffered a stroke on the couple’s anniversary in 2018. Two of their children are still school age.

“I like to see my kids happy, and I can’t really do it now that I can’t work because I take care of my husband," she said. "To see them happy, that makes everything.”

Before her husband’s stroke, Francis worked as a caregiver, while her husband was a truck driver. The pandemic has further affected Francis’ family, as her husband’s doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions are on hold due to COVID restrictions.

As if this situation wasn’t enough, tragedy hit the family again in the spring.

“We had a garage fire in March, right as the quarantine started," she said. "Their dad’s tools were in the garage, so now the 15-year-old only has what I’ve been getting him here and there.”

Francis said her 15-year-old son loves to fix cars and computers, and her eight-year-old daughter loves LOL dolls, Barbies and clothes and makeup. This is the third year the family has benefitted from the program, having first learning about it from the Milton Area School District, where her two youngest attend. The couple also has three older children in their 20s and have been married for 23 years, together for 30.

The 2020 Here. For Good. campaign is a continuation of the Needy Family Fund that has raised more than $3.06 million since 1987 during the holidays to assist the Valley’s less fortunate. The campaign is administered by Salvation Army citadels in Milton and Sunbury and sponsored by The Daily Item, Sunbury Broadcasting Corp. and Mifflinburg Bank & Trust. The 1994 Charles B. Degenstein Foundation will also match the first $50,000 in donations.

This year’s goal is $115,000. Today’s total is $6,719, thanks to David & Elizabeth Clough, of Lewisburg; and $100 from Donald and Tammy Hiller, of Lewisburg. There were also $50 in anonymous donations.

Donors can make checks payable to Here. For Good Campaign and mail or drop them off to any location of program co-sponsor Mifflinburg Bank & Trust. Donors can also make any deposited donation or mail a check to 250 E. Chestnut St., Mifflinburg, PA, 17844, or donate online at www.hereforgoodcampaign.org.

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