COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The holidays look a lot different for almost everyone this year.
For some, not only are they struggling financially, but also emotionally and physically.
Many families with sick children in the hospital simply don’t have the money this year to buy any gifts. Often, one parent is out of work to care for a child and now with the pandemic, there are so many cases where the other parent is also now unemployed.
Fortunately, the community is rallying behind these families with much-needed support.
“It’s just hard — it’s hard on everybody,” said Judy, a grandmother to 26.
For Judy, her world turned upside down long before this pandemic even began. She got custody of her five grandchildren years ago and one of them, her granddaughter, is fighting for her life with a blood disorder.
“Yeah, it’s hard but what do you do? You take one day at a time,” Judy said.
Ellie Hite, founder of AngelWorks, said people have been generous this year.
“I posted about a family I had just learned of that needed help for Christmas,” Ellie said.
“They have a young daughter in the hospital for Christmas and she was in the hospital for last Christmas.”
Angel Works started out by helping families provide gifts for children during the holidays and quickly evolved to focus on helping children battling cancer. Every year they help with funeral expenses for children who have died, raise money for families, raise awareness, and give gifts during the holidays.
“This family is going to feel so loved and I’m so excited,” said Hite.
And they most certainly do.
“This is like sunshine in their life because you know they go through a lot,” said Judy.
Without the generosity of the community or help from Angel Works, Judy says she wouldn’t have been able to give even one gift to any of her grandkids this year.
“(Judy) said, Ellie, I work to be able to put food on the table and clothe these kids and by the time I do that there is no money left. They don’t have any of those things.”
One small organization run by volunteers and donations is making spirits a little brighter for those truly searching for it.
“It’s all those kids up there and this to me is a ray of sunshine for them,” Judy said.
Angel Works helped give a little Christmas cheer to nearly 94 families this year. Ellie said she received more donations and gifts than ever before, even in a pandemic.