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You can make a difference in our community

If you are touched by one of the family stories featured in The Columbian:
  1. Visit the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington website at to submit a donation online (credit card transaction fees apply).
    All proceeds from your donation will benefit children and families in need throughout Clark County. You will receive a receipt from the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington for your contribution.
  2. Send a tax-deductible donation to:
    The Columbian People in Need Fund
    c/o Community Foundation for Southwest Washington
    610 Esther Street, Suite 201
    Vancouver, WA 98660
    Please make checks payable to: Columbian People in Need Fund
  3. To adopt a family, call (360) 448-2880 through December 10.
  4. Drop-off your donation of toys for children, food for gift baskets, and gifts for young teens at:
    Salvation Army
    11018 NE 14th Street
    Vancouver, WA 98684

The Columbian People in Need Fund

Grants from this fund support nonprofit organizations that provide direct services to address the health and well-being of at-risk children, youth, seniors and families. Focus areas include basic health and human services issues such as hunger, homelessness and health care. Funding also supports The Salvation Army’s administration of Clark County’s Adopt-A-Family Program. Contributions to this fund are welcome from all community members, as collectively, we strive to significantly impact the lives of those in need.
People in Need

This year’s families:

  1. Raising an autistic son makes it difficult for a single mother to work. Add onto this the difficulty of having both boys, ages 12 and 9, home because of COVID, they could use some gifts and clothing.
  2. “When Christmas comes, we will not have the money for special purchases,” this single Mom of two little girls says. A 7-year-old with some emotional difficulties would love a puppy, so Mother started to save up, but there’s not a lot in the “puppy jar.” A 5-year-old likes Barbie items.
  3. Dad is supporting his 11-year-old daughter who likes arts and crafts items, but he struggles with arthritis and can only work part time, visiting the doctor monthly. He says some Christmas help this year would be greatly appreciated.
  4. “It’s hard to even think how I can afford gifts for my children,” says an unemployed Mother of four, trying to make ends meet. Having a little girl with kidney problems is making it more difficult, she adds, as is the speech therapy needs of her son. A 1-year-old boy, and three sisters aged 9 and 2 years, and a 14-month old, all hope for some Christmas gifts this year.
  5. Dad works to provide for his four children, where his wife cannot work due to the need to care for the little ones. “We really need some extra help this Christmas,” he says. A 13-year-old girl would like some make-up items; a 12-year-old boy likes Minecraft; an 11-year-old boy asks for a scooter, and a 2-year-old girl would smile over Barbie toys.
  6. Father has been laid off due to the COVID crisis, but just got another job, and this family is behind on bills. Mom, who isn’t working, says the monthly income isn’t enough to keep up. Dad suffers from diabetes and Mom struggles with high blood pressure. A daughter, 12, asks for Lego or Barbie items. A 15-year-old girl could also use some age-appropriate gifts.
  7. “There is no money this year for the kids at Christmas,” says a Mom, who worries about coming up short for rent. Dad works, but few hours, so only the basics are paid for in this household. Recurring back pain keeps Mom off the job force. An 8-year-old girl hopes for arts and crafts items, and her 5-year-old brother likes robot toys.
  8. A recently-single mother of three tries to make ends meet after her hours were cut due to COVID. She manages on a lower weekly income, but wonders how she can afford Christmas presents for a 12-year-old boy who likes camping gear, and a 16-year-old daughter hoping for make-up and hair products. Both would appreciate some age-appropriate gifts, she says. There is also a 19-year-old son in the home.
  9. Mom and Dad are out of work and with a daughter suffering from severe asthma, they are finding that Christmas gifts for their small girls may not be possible without some community help. A 5-year-old girl likes Barbie, and her 17-month-old sister needs toys and clothing.
  10. A divorced Mom with six children finds her monthly income leaves little for Christmas presents. Just moving from living with relatives into her own place places even more stress on the cash flow. To help, four boys aged 2, 4, 10 and 13 could use some special presents this year. There is also a 15-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son under her care. “Money is tight,” she says. “It will be rough this Christmas.
  11. Mom tries to keep it together with her job delivery driving. Living with her grandparents and sharing expenses, it isn’t realistic to think of buying Christmas presents, she adds, noting “I do my best, but there’s nothing left for Christmas.” To help out, a 3-year-old boy likes trucks, and his 2-year-old sister could use some age-appropriate gifts.
  12. A single mom lives with her grandmother to help make ends meet for the family, including three small children — one a year-old girl who needs toys and clothing. “I had to quit my job when COVID hit,” she says. “I also needed to take time off due to being pregnant.” She says some Christmas-time help would be great. “I know others are worse off, but I’d like to give my children something this year,” she explains. A 7-year-old boy needs clothing and likes electronic games and a 3-year-old boy needs clothing and asks for some Paw Patrol toys.
  13. A single Mother was forced to quit her job when COVID closed down the daycare for her three children. It has been a hard time financially, she says, and Christmas expenses seem out of reach without a little community assistance. A 10-year-old boy likes Legos, a 7-year-old boy hopes for “outdoor adventure stuff,” and a 3-year-old sister would be very pleased with a play kitchen or Minnie Mouse Unicorn items.
  14. A single Mother is in a recovery program dealing with mental illness while she raises an 8-year-old daughter with a blood disorder. “I am really getting better, and involved in a ministry program,” she states. She has gotten a job, but she struggles financially while living in a community shelter. To help out, the little girl likes books and arts & crafts items.
  15. Single and raising five children (one not living with her), Mom is optimistic and says she realizes everyone is having difficulty today. COVID closed her job down, and her income from part-time work goes mostly to rent. With no day care, she isn’t able to work much, while raising two girls, aged 3 and 11, and two boys, aged 16 and 9. She is kept busy home schooling the older children. All could use some Christmas presents.
  16. Father is working but Mom stays at home with two children as she plans for a third child to arrive in January in a home with limited monthly income. To provide some help for this family, a 5-year-old boy likes Legos and needs shoes. His 3-year-old sister, who also needs shoes, is a fan of Play-Doh.
  17. A single grandmother caring for a 5-year-old granddaughter, who likes Barbie items, is stressed for income as the Christmas season approaches. She awaits a hearing for Social Security income, so she is asking for assistance from the community this year. Grandmother suffers from several illnesses.
  18. Domestic violence led this single Mom of two little ones to seek her own safe residence, for which she receives public rent assistance, but bills are hard to meet. She struggles as she tries to face life on her own. To help, a 13-year-old girl needs clothing and shoes, as does her 3-year-old brother. “Christmas help would mean a lot,” says Mom.
  19. Just in a home of her own after more than three homeless years, a single Mother of two small girls says it would be nice to have a Christmas celebration for the little ones after many years without one. Finding housing through public assistance has made a difference, she says, as she struggles to handle medical problems in one of the girls. A 7-year-old and a 3-year-old need clothing and shoes, and some toys would bring smiles.
  20. Both parents of two children work entry-level positions, but they are still struggling to make ends meet. Some help would bring Christmas happiness to a 14-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy who could use some age appropriate gifts this holiday season.
  21. A single working Mother of two little girls, as well as an 18-year-old daughter, tries to make ends meet. The oldest girl helps with the rent, but Mom says there is nothing left for Christmas presents this year. An 11-year-old needs shoes and hopes for a soft blanket. Her 5-year-old sister who likes Barbie and Scooby-Doo toys, needs a winter jacket.
  22. Six children under the care of a single Mom, are in need of some extra Christmas help this year. “I get some rent help and a little assistance on bills,” she says, “but there is no way I can afford Christmas gifts.” There are three boys aged 14, 11 and 4, and three girls aged 18, 16 and 5.
  23. A single grandmother had extensive foot surgery so isn’t able to work right now, as she raises her 8-year-old grandson. Limited help in the form of guardianship and food stamp assistance makes it hard to find money for Christmas gifts for the 8-year-old. She hopes for some community help this year.
  24. Dad is doing odd jobs trying to help financially while raising five children. His father lives in the household, where the mother isn’t working, and contributes some unemployment help with finances. Children include two boys aged 9 years and 9 months, and three girls aged 7, 5 and 3. Clothing and toys would help make the holiday merry.
  25. A single father with a 6-year-old girl lives in a car (she stays with others on cold nights, he says). Even though he is working, “it is difficult to find a place to live and pay utilities,” he says. Some help would be appreciated, Dad states, for food and Christmas gifts.
  26. Dad’s work is spotty right now, says Mom, and their two little boys aged 10 months and 5 years could use some help for Christmas assistance. “Generally dad works full-time,” she says, “but hours are pretty few and tight now.” Mom stays at home with the children who could use some age-appropriate gifts.
  27. Mom and Dad run a family business out of their home, but COVID has shut down all consumer interest. Unemployment brings some money, but rent alone takes of that in this home with five children: 2 boys aged 3 and 9, three girls aged 7, and 18-month-old twins.
  28. The adult male in this home with three young children is working, but his job hours have been cut. Mom asks for some community assistance for this Christmas to bring smiles to the faces of a 13-year-old boy and two little girls aged 3 and 7. The youngest girl suffers from asthma.
  29. Mom says there is no financial help from her husband as she goers through a divorce, trying to make ends meet from her part-time job. She is raising three children: two boys aged 10 and 2, and a 7-year-old daughter. “Some gifts would help this Christmas,” she says.
  30. A single Mom has back problems and needs surgery, so isn’t working and she is struggling. “I lost my husband and three other family members in recent years,” she says. Her 14-year-old daughter suffers from anxiety difficulties since the loss of her father in an accident.
  31. A single Mom on public assistance income and living in community housing is going to school to improve her job prospects. Her limited income does not allow for any extra Christmas cash, and she hopes for some help for her 3-year-old boy who likes truck, train and car toys.
  32. Single and struggling to provide for her 10-year-old son, Mom underwent surgery and isn’t able to work right now. While she gets some limited income and her son receives some Social Security assistance for a disability, Christmas gift purchases remain out of her financial reach. Some community help this year would be much appreciated.
  33. Mom, injured at work and unable to return to her job, faces hardships trying to raise three little children without support from their Father. Currently living with her Mother, she asks for some help for two boys, aged 6 and 11, and their 9-year-old sister.
  34. A single Mom of a 12-year-old girl who needs a warm comforter just got back to work and is trying to catch up on bills. “I am recovering from surgery,” she says, “but there are complications that occur.” Home schooling her little one is hard as she tries to hold down a minimum wage job.
  35. “We’re behind on our water bill and my husband just had his hours cut,” says this Mother of two daughters, aged 5 and 13. “Some Christmas help would be very nice.”
  36. A couple with a business they operate from home says the pandemic has shut down operation of their company. “Income is very low and it is hard to pay the bills,” says Mom. The older brother (6-years-old) hopes for some Pokémon items, and the little boy (3-years-old) likes superhero toys.
  37. A 2-year-old boy who likes Thomas the Train toys, and his 5-year-old sister favoring princess items, live with their single Mom who cannot work due to disabilities. “I am just poor,” says Mom, who says her recent car breakdown isn’t helping her situation. Some community help would go far in bringing this family a merrier Christmas.
  38. Working at a school until the pandemic caused her to lose her job, a single Mom with a 12-year-old daughter needs some assistance. “It is very hard to try to catch up on bills,” she says. The little girl, who suffers from a sleep disorder, asks for some hair-styling items.
  39. A single Mother out of work since the pandemic began is still struggling for unemployment assistance. She is a victim of a sleep disorder as is her boys, aged 11 and 14. “Some Christmas help would be great,” she says. The older boy is into books and puzzles, and the younger son likes Thomas the Train toys.
  40. With three boys, aged 9, 12 and 17, as well as a 7-year-old daughter depending on this single Mom, she remains in “not so good a financial predicament” this Christmas, she states, as she remains unemployed. Some age-appropriate gifts would be much appreciated by Mom.
  41. Her 3-year-old son was hit by COVID and had to be hospitalized, but is doing better now, says a Mom who is pregnant and not working. There also two other children under her care; a 4-year-old boy and infant daughter. Since Dad left there is little income, she says, and she isn’t having success finding assistance benefits at this time.
  42. Living with her Mother and living on little public assistance, a single Mom with a 10-year-old son with autoimmune problems, requiring her to be with him constantly, asks for some community assistance this Christmas. She also has a 3-year-old boy.
  43. A single mother who cannot work due to back problems asks for some help this Christmas for her two daughters, aged 4 and 7. The oldest girl, who suffers from autism, likes dolls. Her younger sister favors Disney items.
  44. Mom, who says she can’t work because there is no babysitter for her 5-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son, is trying to home-school them. There is also a baby girl in this home, where they hope for some community assistance this Christmas.
  45. Dad works minimal hours and meeting rent “really tight right now,” says Mom in this home with a 2-year-old girl who likes Mickey Mouse items. “We need some help,” says Mother.
  46. A new baby boy is on the way in this home before Christmas, says a Mom with three other little boys aged 11, 9 and 7. She struggles with finances as she is currently out of work, and needs to care for the oldest boy’s epilepsy. Some help to pay bills comes from family, but “we have nothing to spend on Christmas presents,” says Mom in this single parent home.
  47. Dad has a full-time job but is sidelined due to the COVID crisis. Some unemployment payments help out, but paying bills is a stretch with six children in the home: 10, 7, 4, and 2-year-old boys, an infant boy, and an 8-year-old girl.
  48. With a husband and son on disability, Mom needs to stay home to provide care for them in this family with five children: three boys aged 6, 11 and 13, and two girls, aged 7 and 3. Living in community housing, “it is hard to pay the bills,” says Mom. “Money for Christmas just isn’t there.
  49. Mom finds it hard to work with six children to care for in this single-parent household. She is trying to find a caregiving job, but “with home schooling, it is very hard,” she notes. To help, there are five boys, aged 3, 2, 5, 7 and 8, and a 1-year-old daughter. Mom would greatly appreciate some help from the community this Christmas.
  50. “It is hard to make ends meet on my job where we need to take 2 weeks off every time someone there has COVID,” says a single Mom of an 8-year-old boy and daughter, 3. “Things are hard right now,” she says, “and with difficulties finding day care, my life is pretty stressed right now.”
  51. A boy, 6, likes car toys, and his brother, 5, hopes for a scooter (with helmet) this Christmas in a family where Dad continues to look for work after losing a job in August. “We just need help until we get back on our feet,” says Mom.
  52. Eleven-year-old twins, a boy and girl, both like books and art supplies in single-Mom family, which includes 1 14-year-old and 15-year-old boy as well. Mom has been hard pressed in her house cleaning job since work was cut back by COVID. An adult male in this home is also looking for work.
  53. Mom is currently living with her Mother, who recently suffered a stroke. “I have been looking for work, but with COVID it is hard,” she says, noting that finding babysitters for her 4-year-old girl is difficult these days. “I am living off my savings,” she adds, “and having just been diagnosed with diabetes isn’t helping.”
  54. “I work as my husband stays home and watches the kids,” says the Mother of boys, aged 3 and 10. “But I just can’t make enough to buy Christmas gifts. I’m just able to pay our bills.’
  55. “I don’t have a job and am relying on food stamps and some assistance to get by,” says a single Mom of a year-old baby girl. “If I could just get a job things would be better.” In the meantime, a little community help is needed.
  56. “Since I got laid off because of COVID things have been rough around here,” says a single Mom of a 7-year-old boy and 18-month-old girl. “I still haven’t heard about my unemployment after trying for 14 weeks to get on board.” Help from SHARE and some public utility cost reduction has helped, but income remains very low.
  57. Dad is working, but his hours have been cut in this home where Mom stays home to care for two daughters, aged 2 and 14-months. “There’s just not going to be any money for Christmas,” she says.
  58. Dad has not worked for half the year due to a COVID layoff, and it is hard for this family to pay bills each month. “We’re just not getting any calls about a job,” says Mom, who says some help this Christmas would be appreciated for their three children: girls aged 2 and 4, and a 15-month-old boy.
  59. A 4-year-old autistic boy likes Thomas the Train toys, says the single Mother working fewer hours due to COVID. “I don’t like not working more, but being off allows me to spend more time helping my non-verbal son,” she adds. The Headstart program assumes care for the boy when she is working, notes Mother, who suffers from stress attacks.
  60. “I am only on call at work now because of the pandemic, but my hours are very few,” says a single Mother of five children: two twin 8-year-old boys and their 13-year-old brother, and two girls, aged 2 and 19. “Dad is out of the picture, so we’re struggling,” she states. Homeless at the beginning of 2020, the family now is in an apartment with financial help from a church and public utility firms. Everyone in this family suffers from asthma.
  61. Unemployment benefits for a single Mom caring for three children ended this month and she has been out of work since COVID struck. She struggles to home school a boy, 9, and his sister, 10, as well as care for a 15-year-old daughter of her sister’s.
  62. “Our only income is my husband’s unemployment,” says a Mom in a household with two boys, aged 2 and 18, and a 5-year-old girl. “We’re having a hard time meeting bills, and could use a little help this Christmas,” she adds. “We really need it.”
  63. A self-employed landscaper Dad is finding jobs hard to land, says Mom, who says their income is “very limited.” Some Christmas assistance would help this family with four children: two girls, aged 2 and 9; two boys, aged 5 and 7. “It has been a difficult year,” she adds.
  64. Not able to work since losing her Clark College job due to COVID cutbacks, a single Mom of 3-year-old twin boys says it is “absolutely impossible to keep up with the bills.” She receives some public assistance income, but isn’t able to make ends meet, she adds.
  65. An 8-year-old boy dreams of a “big” remote control car under the Christmas tree, and his 7-year-old sister loves dolls. Mom moved into new quarters in April, but is finding it hard to keep up with bills with work cut to 18 hours a week due to COVID. “Once I pay for day care when I work, it is hard to keep up with everything,” she says. A helping hand from the community would be appreciated this holiday season.