MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Kimberly Brown, surrounded by three of her five children, talks about the meaning of Christmas: family.
“Even if you don’t receive anything, it’s the thought that counts, right?” Brown said to her 12 year old daughter Chloe in downtown Montgomery. “And even if you only get one thing, God is going to bless.”
Brown said the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on their family of seven. Her husband, Caleb, works for the city, and as an essential worker, has had to work through the duration of the pandemic.
“My husband, by the grace of God still works,” Brown said. “But it’s kind of hard, even living off one income, trying to make ends meet.”
Brown was involved in three separate car accidents dating back to the year 2010 that has left her with a spinal injury and relentless pain.
“A little girl was texting and driving and she hit me head on,” Brown said. “It’s kind of hard to stand or sit for so long, but I don’t let my disability get the best of me because being a mother is a full time job.”
Because Caleb is an essential worker, that means he can’t be around the kids very often in fear of potential exposure to the virus. This has left Kimberly as the primary supporter of the children, a job she says is challenging with a serious injury.
“That made my job a thousand percent harder while being a stay-at-home mom,” Brown said.
Trying to pay medical bills, go to appointments, and raise 5 children has been difficult she says.
“Some things you have to put aside to take care of bills, and you have to cancel appointments to take care of the kids so they don’t get sick with the COVID that is going around,” Brown said.
This year, for the first time, the Brown family is an applicant for the Christmas Clearinghouse program through HandsOn River Region.
For more than three decades, Christmas Clearinghouse in Montgomery has helped connect thousands of families across the River Region with charities who can provide assistance during the holidays.
Each year, nearly 10,000 people in the River Region, including more than 8,000 children, register for assistance.
Brown said they are “beyond blessed” for the the program.
“It is such a heavy burden that has been lifted,” Brown said. “Even though the pandemic is going on, somebody is willing to help your family during this crisis.”
Brown said your donation to Christmas Clearinghouse makes the world of difference for families in need.
“There are kids who are looking forward to Christmas this year whose parents cannot afford it,” Brown said. “Please donate, because it means a lot.”
How you can help
If you would like to help, go to HandsOn River Region’s website. There, you can register to either adopt a family and provide Christmas for them, make a monetary donation, or find more information about how to build a care basket for a family.
Along with toys and clothing items, things like paper towels, toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent, toothpaste, deodorant and diapers are needed. Items can be dropped off at 101 Coliseum Blvd.
Every year, Christmas Clearinghouse brings in anywhere from $350 to $400 thousand dollars to the community.
This year, the organization says the need is even greater because of COVID-19.
12′s Day of Giving
Christmas Clearinghouse is one of three nonprofits WSFA partners with for 12′s Day of Giving.
12′s Day of Giving is on December 4th at the Renfroe’s Market on Eastchase Parkway this year. WSFA will be taking cash, new toys, and nonperishable food to benefit the Montgomery Area Food Bank, Toys for Tots, and Christmas Clearinghouse.
This year’s event is from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.