A few missed work days make a difference on Amanda Fletcher’s household budget.
The single mother of three said she is thankful for the Community Christmas Card campaign, which helped her through a difficult time this year.
The annual campaign sponsored by NWA Media is one way readers can help local school districts provide basic needs for students.
Money from the campaign helps local school districts fill financial gaps.
The money can be used to purchase medication, pay for medical and dental visits, clothing, hygiene products, transportation, utilities or pay the fees needed for students to participate in school events or sports.
Fletcher of Bentonville said a lack of insurance and disposable income prompted her to work while she had bronchitis. The illness turned into walking pneumonia, which caused her to miss work for three weeks in late September and early October.
“I was just toughing it out,” Fletcher said of her battle with bronchitis. “All and all, from start to finish, I was out sick for three weeks. I went back to work sick because I needed to make money for rent.”
She was unable to purchase a $185 medication for her youngest son.
“I felt bad that I couldn’t do it, but there was no way,” Fletcher said.
“It is difficult being a single mom. You feel like you are all alone sometimes, but you have to take it as it comes. You try to deal with it one day at a time. You have to have priorities.”
Fletcher said her son would have difficulty attending school without the medication.
She filed for Medicaid, but a month delay in service left a gap in payment.
A teacher who works with Fletcher’s son realized the need and contacted district social worker Julie Bachmayer, who used money from the Community Christmas Card to purchase the medication in October.
“Without this program, I didn’t know how I was going to fix it. Taking one thing off the plate helped. I am very thankful,” Fletcher said.
Bachmayer said money from the campaign helps families in numerous ways.
“It breaks your heart. These kids have such needs that school is not as important. When you think of their hierarchy of needs, they have to think about clothing, food and housing. If we can somehow meet those needs, then sometimes school is back at the top of that list.”
Last year, 16 school districts divided $25,212.84 in contributions from the Community Christmas Card campaign.
The donations are divided between every school in Benton and Washington counties.
Those who donate can designate which district will receive their donation.
“Our readers always respond in great numbers when the Christmas Card program rolls around each year,” said Rusty Turner, editor and publisher of NWA Media.
“We are pleased to provide them with this opportunity to help local children. I know they will come through again.”
NWA Media partners with Springdale’s Endeavor Foundation to collect and distribute the Community Christmas Card donations.
NWA Media pays the processing fees for the donations so 100 percent of the money collected can be distributed to the schools.
Today begins the 2012 Community Christmas Card campaign sponsored by NWAMedia. All donations go to school districts in Benton, Madison and Washington counties and McDonald County, Mo. Individuals may mail donations to: Community Christmas Card, c/o NWA Media, P.O. Box 1607, Fayetteville, AR 72702. Checks should be made out to Endeavor Foundation/Community Christmas Card.
Donations also can be delivered to any NWAMedia office, including daily and weekly newspapers, or made online at: www.nwaonline.com/christmascard <http://www.nwaonline.com/christmascard>. The names of individuals donating $2 or more will be printed in a full-page Christmas card published in the Dec. 25 edition of the paper. Donations to the Community Christmas Card are tax-deductible.