CHRISTMAS FOR ALL PRESS A young family asks only for food, gasoline

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As part of the annual Press Christmas for All campaign, we share with readers the stories of those asking for help. It’s one of them.

“Eleanor” had a rough start to her young life. At 18, she got married and moved to New Mexico, but the relationship was abusive, she told Press Christmas for All. She divorced and remarried at 26. The second relationship wasn’t much better; cycles of abuse have emerged over time.

“I had a really hard time managing my life and figuring out how to fix it,” Eleanor said.

She eventually found the strength to leave her second husband but then found out she was pregnant. She was not supposed to be able to conceive and took the pregnancy as a sign that she should stay.

“I thought maybe it would work,” Eleanor said. “I thought things might get better for us.”

As Eleanor got sober to nurture the new life in her, her husband continued to abuse alcohol and things got worse.

“When you’re living a sober life, it’s a lot harder to ignore alcohol abuse,” Eleanor said. “But I held on.”

She ended up checking into an inpatient treatment center that allowed her to bring her 1.5-year-old daughter. The treatment helped her understand what was going on in her marriage and the effects it was having on her child. She graduated from the program and her parents came to pick them both up.

Eleanor’s husband assured her he was fine and she believed him. She decided to resume the relationship. What she found however was a worse situation. Her husband threatened to hurt her and her family if she left, she said.

“I ended up losing everything I had gained during the treatment,” Eleanor said. “And I was terrified of what my daughter was seeing.”

In 2019, Eleanor’s husband’s drinking landed him in intensive care with brain damage, severe liver failure and malnutrition. She saw this as her chance to move on, realizing she couldn’t live like this anymore.

This time, she didn’t go back. Instead, she got a lawyer and sued for sole custody of her daughter.

A two-year court battle ensued, which ultimately netted approximately $23,000 in legal fees.

“It was so stressful not knowing if I should share my daughter with him. I was terrified of her being alone with him,” Eleanor said.

But in May, when she was granted sole custody, it was “the happiest day of her life”, she said. And she remained focused on her own sobriety and growth.

“Right now, I’m confident in my sobriety,” Eleanor said. “My #1 goal is to be diligent, focus on my spirituality, and go to (sobriety) meetings.”

It took many years of chaos and uncertainty to get her life back on track, Eleanor said.

“I spent eight years not thinking I was good enough for anyone,” Eleanor said. “But now I look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m a good person and I’m a good mother.'”

Today, Eleanor has “a good partner” who has been clean and sober for seven years and who wholeheartedly supports Eleanor’s sobriety.

“It’s amazing to find someone who treats me with respect,” Eleanor said. The two just welcomed a baby boy in March.

Eleanor is now a stay-at-home mom. Due to the high cost of child care, they decided this would be the best choice. But finances are extremely tight and her husband, a concrete finisher, was injured and missed three months of work while recovering.

“He kept trying to get back to work, but he was being sent home,” Eleanor said.

The family asks Press Christmas for All for help with basic things like gas and food. Even a $20 gas card would mean so much to the family now, Eleanor said. And Press Christmas for all book.

The right kind of helping hand will help this family regain security and stability for the future of their two young children.

•••

Each year, Press readers make a generous donation to the program. Every penny raised is distributed to residents of Kootenai County. All overhead costs are covered by The Hagadone Corp.

The recipients of the gifts are our struggling neighbors, including the elderly, disabled, veterans, homeless and mentally ill. Many of those asking for Christmas Aid for All are working, but living in poverty.

Press Christmas for All recipients maintain their dignity as the community lends a helping hand to help them get back on their feet.

Press Christmas for All is managed by The Hagadone Corp., with assistance from CharityReimagined.Org. It is a legally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, run entirely by volunteers.

Here are four ways to donate:

  • Send a check to Press Christmas for All, 215 N. Second St., Coeur d’Alene, 83814.
  • Call The Press and make a secure credit card donation by phone: 208-664-8176
  • Go to cdapress.com. Click the MENU button, then click Christmas for All 2021.
  • Drop off your check at The Press weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.: 215 N. Second St. in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

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