The month of December is often magical for children as they await the day they’ll wake up to several presents scattered under the tree. However, come January, some families can often find themselves in a bind financially.
Local nonprofit Restoring Lives founder Shenita Jones said an estimated 63% of people don’t save up money for Christmas and therefore sometimes end up resorting to payday loans or digging into funds set aside for utilities to provide gifts for their loved ones.
Consequently, these families sometimes go without food or power during January. “Usually the harder month is the month right after December, where everybody is just kind of struggling and needing more assistance to help them get over the hump to the next month of February,” Jones said.
However, Jones said Restoring Lives is looking to assist some of these families who may struggle during the month of January through its Christmas Project. Households selected for the program will have their utilities covered for the entire month.
“It’s really to keep you maintained until you are back to wherever you can self-maintain yourself in February,” Jones said. “We’re giving them a leg-up to be able to help themselves and be able to do that.”
Applicants are required to have at least one child within their household, have proof of guardianship and have an income no greater than $40,000.
”With Ardmore already having great programs to help with Christmas — buying gifts or giving the household assistance — this is really for some of those people who maybe didn’t get the opportunity to take advantage of some of those programs and utilized their own funds,” Jones said.
The number of households Restoring Lives is able to assist through the program is dependent on how much funding families need, Jones said. Restoring Lives currently has the funds available to help four families with all of their utilities.
However, in the past, the organization has had individuals who only needed funding for their electric bill.
“Usually electric is the bill that is higher so that’s the one they really look for us to assist,” Jones said. “If you come in and say you only want your electric, then that gives me the opportunity to help eight families versus being able to help four if I do the whole water, gas and electric.”
Community members are also welcome to help sponsor a family, Jones said. To find out more, call 580-798-3650 or visit http://www.restoringlivesnow.org/
Individuals can also make a donation by texting “RESTORE2020” to 44321, Jones said. Applications for the Restoring Lives Christmas Project can be picked up at 301 W Main St. Suite 402. The deadline to apply is Jan. 16.
“We do encourage people to be able to help in any way that they can and we, at Restoring Lives, thank our community for always supporting us and helping us make a difference, trying to be proactive in family’s lives,” Jones said.