People in Need

Single parent families. Grandparents raising grandchildren. Mothers laid off. Fathers looking for work. No money. No food. Many are hungry. Thousands of Clark County residents are barely able to afford the bare necessities, let alone gifts for their children during the holidays. Can you help a needy family celebrate the spirit of the holiday season?

The Columbian’s late owner and publisher, Don Campbell, launched the People In Need Program in 1979. He felt The Columbian, with its broad readership and spirit of community outreach, should be a positive force in helping the less fortunate in Clark County. Today, third and fourth generation Campbell family owners believe in the same founding principles of the program. Donations to The Columbian’s People In Need Fund are distributed to the local non-profits serving the urgent needs of children and families throughout Clark County, including The Salvation Army’s Adopt A Family program during the holidays.

You can make a difference in our community several ways:

  1. If you are touched by one of the family stories featured here, CALL the Salvation Army at 360-448-2880 through Dec 13 to adopt a family.
  2. Send a tax-deductible donation to: The Columbian People In Need Fund c/o The Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, 610 Esther Street, Suite 201, Vancouver, WA, 98660. Please make checks payable to Columbian People In Need Fund.
  3. Visit the Community Foundation web site to make a donation by clicking here. (Credit card transaction fee may apply.)

All proceeds from your donation will benefit children and families in need throughout Clark County. You will receive a receipt from Community Foundation for your contribution.

Here are this year’s families:

  1. Mom is the only parent in a home with a 2-year-old boy who could use a learning tablet. With the child suffering from physical and speech problems, the Mother is responsible for getting him care. Dad is not in the home and does not provide support for the family.
  2. A single Mother must send her 3 girls to live in different homes of relatives and friends as she seeks employment. She hopes to get her GED to improve her financial situation. Her current income is limited to child support she receives, but it is not coming in regularly, she says. To help out, 13- year-old girl likes art and drawing items and paints; a 3-year-old girl asks for Frozen toys, and her baby sister needs a swing.
  3. Large Legos are the hope of twin 4-year-old boys in this single Mother home, which includes a 6-year-old girl who asks for Play-Doh. Mom is going through “a very difficult financial season,” she says. After paying $1,500 for a mortgage and $800 in utilities each month, she has little left over from her $2,500 income for Christmas items, let alone food.
  4. Financial difficulty has put this family of five into a tough situation this Christmas, and they could use some community help. An 8-year-old girl asks for Legos; a 6-year-old girl hopes for dolls, and dinosaur toys are the favorite of their 4-year-old brother.
  5. Dad lost his job due to an injury, but needs to support his 4-year-old son. Mom was recently lost due to cancer. This will be a challenging Christmas for the two unless some help from the community surfaces. The little one likes Legos building blocks.
  6. A family with three under-10 children was homeless recently until moving in with a parent. Mom recently got back to work and they are trying to catch up on past-due bills. Some community help would be appreciated for a 9-year-old girl who hopes for roller blades; a 7-year-old girl asking for roller skates, and a 5-year-old boy who likes to play electronic games.
  7. Boy and girl 13-year-old twins ask for gift cards to Michaels and perhaps a gift card to buy socks and other clothing in this family living n less than $1,000 a month. Mom, who is single, suffers from severe medical problems, having undergone two surgeries to date. A fourth “child,” as Mom calls her, is a 19-year-old disabled female living at home. The family’s only source of income from public assistance did not kick in until thi autumn. Some “random” child support is also paid, she says.
  8. A football for an 11-year-old boy, a soccer ball for his 8-year-old brother, and Shopkins for their 4- year old sister are requested in this family led by a single Mother living with a relative since losing their residence and her job. It all relates to their having fled a violent domestic situation.
  9. Learning toys are needed for a 3-year-old girl and an infant boy in this home whre Dad works and earns limited income. They are “just living within their means, using their money only for necessities,” says Mom.
  10. With a total household income of only about $2,000 per month, this family of five is financially distressed this Christmas and could use some community help. With two children of their own, they are attempting to adopt a third. Only Dad works in this family needing assistance for two girls aged 2 and 10, and a 3-year-old boy.
  11. Legos and Star Wars and Shopkins are requested by a 9-year-old boy and girl and an 11- year-old boy in this family where Mom and Dad are only able to find part-time employment, limiting their income to $1,600 a month – more than $1,000 of which is paid for rent. Some special presents for the children would help with cheering them up this Christmas.
  12. A single Mother with a 7- and 3-year-old daughters says the Father is “out of the picture.” She works part-time jobs, but nothing stable. She hopes to move into a better environment and improve the family outlook, but is currently asking for some community help for shoes, dolls and art kits.
  13. Only $800 from a day labor job comes into this household of five, including three daughters aged 8, 9 and 11. While both parents work, they only find a couple of days of employment each week. A public housing program helps with the rent, but money remains very tight. “It is very hard to ask for help, but it is hard to make ends meet,” says Mom. “We will be grateful for any help!” The youngest girl would like a baby and stroller; the middle sister requests a “real looking” baby doll, and the oldest girl likes Pet Robot items.
  14. Mom is going to school to improve her financial situation as she raises a 2- and 6-year-old girls on her own. She says the three “love doing crafts together and listening to music.” This financially greatly-limited family could use some extra gifts this year from the community as Mom strives to improve their lives.
  15. Divorce and financial strains keep the Mother of a 3-year-old boy and infant girl concerned about providing them a good Christmas this year. While she says “my children and I are happy for what God gives us,” she hopes for a helping hand from the community as well this year in terms of a baby doll and magnet tiles for the little ones.
  16. Dad works, but brings only $2,000 a month for support of his wife, who suffers from arthritis, and two little boys, aged 8 and 10. While Mom wants to work, her illness limits what she can do. To help out, the boys would like remote-control cars and Legos for Christmas. The kids would also like to visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry some day. This family speaks Spanish.
  17. A young couple with a 9-year-old girl and a boy, 3, bring in less than $1,000 a month to this household, as Mom goes to school in an effort to improve their prospects. The girl asks for Visco Girl hair scrunchies and a Hydro Flask water bottle with stickers. Her brother likes monster truck toys and Hot Wheel race track sets.
  18. An unemployed mother of three boys, ages 10, 4 and 1, is seeking a job, but yet without success. All of the children need winter jackets and clothing. The oldest asks for a Fortnight T-shirt or hoody, and a basketball. The 4-year-old favors dinosaur toys like T-Rex, and Paw Patrol toys. The youngest could use some basic learning toys.
  19. It is hard to function with only $1,400 a month, says a grandmother raising 11- and 12-year-old grandsons. “Things are very, very tight,” she says, as she worries about the power being turned off at their home. The oldest boy likes video games and needs shirts, sweats and shoes. His brother, who also needs clothing, is a Power Ranger fan.
  20. A single Mom living in a household with her sister and a friend on disability asks for some assistance this season for her three children. A 14-year-old girl likes Harry Potter items and needs a coat. A 12-year-old boy hopes for a skateboard and some board games. He also needs a coat. A 10-year-old girl likes craft toys, and asks for some leggings.
  21. A recently-unemployed father supporting a Mom and four little ones asks for some assistance from the community this Christmas. A 7-year-old boy asks for a soccer ball or football, and needs sneakers and a coat. A 10-year-old girl needs clothing as well as a coat, and likes arts and crafts items. A 12-year-old boy also hopes for a football and sportswear. A 3-year-old girl needs jeans and leggings, and asks for coloring books. This is a Spanish-speaking family.
  22. This single Mom with a toddler boy and 12-year-old daughter is working hard to make ends meet, but with a minimal income that’s not easy, she says. To help out, her 2-year-old son needs 3T clothing and shoes, a winter coat and some toys. The girl hopes for coloring books and pens, and would love a camera. Mom, a victim of domestic violence, needs kitchenware.
  23. A Mom with a 14-year-old son is without regular income as she applies for assistance. In the meanwhile, she asks for a little help giving her boy a good Christmas experience. He likes video games and needs clothing items, shoes and a winter jacket.
  24. With three boys, all under 10-years-old, this single Mom who receives only $169 a week on unemployment income has been looking for a job since she lost hers in late 2019. An 8-year-old likes Legos. A 5-year-old could use some toys of his own, and his 3-year-old brother asks for toy cars and dump truck, and perhaps some movies. All of the children need clothing as well.
  25. Mom and Dad struggle on $1,500 a month raising two sons and a daughter. A 12-year-old boy likes Legos, robots and science books. A 10-year-old boy asks for a soccer ball or football, and also likes art books. Their 5-year-old sister loves Frozen movies and Barbies All need clothing and shoes.
  26. A disabled Mom of two children is in need of some help to provide a Christmas morning her boy, 11, and girl, 10, will remember. The special-needs boy likes video games and would love a football. His sister asks for arts and crafts items and a make-up kit. Both of the children need winter coats, clothing and shoes. A couple of skateboards would also be much appreciated, says Mom.
  27. With less than $2,000 a month available to this household of Mom and Dad and three children, it is hard to come up with extras of Christmas presents. A 14-year-old boy likes board and computer games, model planes and would like a basketball. A 10-year-old boy hopes for Legos and computer games, and their 7-year-old sister is fond of dolls. All need clothing, shoes and winter coats.
  28. A single working mother with three young boys tries to bring new focus into her life after being abandoned by her husband. She says she is keeping up with bills, but has nothing left over for Christmas presents for the children, and requests a helping hand from the community, particularly to provide them with needed clothing. An 8-year-old dreams of owning his first bike, as does his 6-year-old brother. A 4-year-old hopes for some action figures. This is a Spanish-speaking family.
  29. A single Mom of an 8-year-old boy is under psychiatric care to help her deal with trauma she suffered as a child, living off public funding of less than $500 monthly. She asks for help providing her son with Pokemon and science toys this Christmas. The little boy also needs clothing and shoes.
  30. A single Mom of five children cleans homes but can bring in only about $1,000 a month. Some help providing her children with Christmas gifts would be greatly appreciated. A 7-year-old girl likes dolls and coloring books. A 9-year-old boy requests a football or soccer ball. A 12-year-old boy asks for the same. A 13-year-old boy likes science books. A 14-year-old girl asks for nail polish and movies. All of these children are in need of clothing and shoes. This is a Spanish-speaking household.
  31. A recent car accident has not helped the situation in this family as the adults struggle with a $2,000 per month income in light of rising rent and difficulty in finding work. This year, their three small boys could use some community assistance for a good holiday. Two 6-year-old boys (not twins) need a few toys and clothing, and a 2-year-old loves play cars and dinosaur toys. He could also use some clothing items.
  32. A single Mom of an 11-year-old boy was working before needing surgery, which is keeping her sidelined until the doctor clears her to return to her job. Meanwhile, with only child support income to sustain the household, she is reaching out for some help this Christmas. The boy likes Legos, Nerf toys, Pokemon items and needs some clothing as well.
  33. The $2,000 per month this single working Mother lives on is stretched thin when it comes to keeping up with bills. Some help this
  34. Christmas is requested for a 7-year-old girl fond of Barbie items. She also loves drawing. Her 4-year-old brother favors Paw Patrol items and toys based on the “Cars” Disney animated film – particularly Lightning McQueen! Both children need clothing as well.
  35. Mom recently had to take a 2-month medical leave from her job due to a chronic illness, leaving a gap in the household income of only $1,900 monthly. As a result, there is a need for some help for her 9-year-old daughter this season. The daughter likes Legos or other building toys and loves art supplies. Clothing is also needed.
  36. Dad is working full time as he and his wife live with others, sharing rent and other costs. “We pay our share, but things are tight,” says Mom. Their 8-year-old boy likes Legos, Mindcraft items, and needs clothing.
  37. A single Mom of 16-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old boy lives on less than $2,000 per month. Finding it hard to come up with money for Christmas presents, she asks for some board games such as Monopoly, or some Pokemon characters for her son. A soccer ball would also make him smile. Clothing items are also needed.
  38. A Russian-speaking Mother who can converse somewhat in English lives alone with two little boys aged eight and six. Both like car toys and Legos, as well as games to play. Clothing items are also needed.
  39. Escaping from what Mom says with was a “bad situation” and in moving with her Mother, a single parent of two children is looking for work, but is currently hard-pressed for an income of any sort. “I could use a little help this Christmas,” she says, for a 9-year-old boy who likes books and sports items, such as a soccer ball. A 2-year-old sister would love a baby doll and stroller, and could use some learning toys. Clothing is needed in this household as well.
  40. “Help is very much needed,” says the Mother of three who had to quit her job due to medical problems. Dad works, but the income is very limited ($1,500 a month), which covers the rent and not much more. To provide some help from the community, a 13-year-old boy asks for a soccer ball and remote-control toy car; a 9-year-old girl asks for dolls, and a 4-year-old boy hopes for a remote-control car based on Disney’s “Cars” movies. He also favors Spiderman toys. Clothing items are needed in this family.
  41. Deaths of a family member as well as a friend has hit this single Mom of a 12-year-old boy and a 16-year-old daughter hard this year as she struggles to make ends meet with $2880 a month from her full-time job. To help out, her little boy likes Pokemon toys and Marvel action figures, as well as Marvel movies. Clothing is needed by this family.
  42. A grandmother on disability, raising a 7-year-old grandson in a home with a limited income asks for assistance this Christmas in providing the child with some Pokemon or Lego toys, as well as a basketball or soccer ball.
  43. Grandparents have their hands full raising six boys and a little girl. Only grandmother is working in this household depending on about $3,000 a month to make ends meet. A 10-year-old boy likes domino games. A 9-year-old boy asks for a basketball. An 8-year-old boy hopes for Pokemon cards. A 7-year-old boy likes Legos. A 5-year-old boy likes toy cars and trucks. A 1- year-old boy could use some blocks. The girl, 3, hopes for a baby doll and stroller. Clothing is needed in this family.
  44. With $1,500 a month income, proving Christmas presents for this family is difficult, although Dad works full-time. Mom, who stays home to care for their four children, asks for some help this Christmas for an 11-year-old boy who likes Legos and art supplies, his 7-year-old brother who prefers some Transformer toys, and their 9-year-old sister into Barbies and art kits. All need clothing as well.
  45. Dad works full-time but brings in only $2,000 a month to meet basic needs. Mom asks for some assistance from the community to provide Christmas presents for two little girls. An 8-year-old likes art supplies for coloring and drawing, and could use a skateboard. Her 6-year-old sister hopes for books and dolls.
  46. After paying for the rent and basics, a young couple with two children could helping hand this Christmas. A 5-year-old boy likes American flag stickers, play tools and Spiderman items. A 4-year-old girl asks for Princess “stuff,” and some baby dolls.
  47. A Mother brings home $600 a month from part-time work to care for her 2 sons. “Income is very tight,” she says. “Things are tough.” To help out, an 8-year-old Timbers fan could use a basketball or soccer ball for Christmas. A 5-year-old likes Skippyjon Jones and Fly Guy books.
  48. Dad isn’t working as he remains home to care for three little boys and a small daughter, and Mom brings in only $1,000 a month. To help out, a 10-year-old boy likes Ninja Turtle toys or maybe a remote-control airplane. A 9-year-old boy is a Spiderman fan. A 6-year-old sister loves Barbies and kitchen toys. A 3-year-old boy hopes for dinosaur toys.
  49. The Mother in this family with two children is being treated for terminal cancer while Dad works full-time bringing home less than $3,000 per month, as medical bills mount. To offer some assistance, a 12-year-old girl who loves photography and plays the cello could use some photography or art-related items. A 4-year-old boy lives Pokemon, car toys and cartoons. Some clothing items would be very welcome in this family.
  50. Only Dad works, bringing in $1,400 a month to raise three little girls. Mom says they could use a little help this Christmas for a 13-year-old who hopes for a sweater and some make-up kit items; a 5-year-old asking for Barbie or Princess toys, and a 1-year-old needing a few baby toys and some musical toys.
  51. A single Mom receives $650 a month as she rents a room from a relative where she lives with two small boys. Some help would be appreciated this Christmas for a 9-year-old who is a Pokemon fan, and his 2-year-old brother who is a fan of Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig toys. Clothing and shoes are needed as well.
  52. Escaping a hostile environment, a single Mother of four finds herself jobless as she works in a program to help her find a job. Meanwhile, without child support, she is forced to try living on less than $1,000 a month. Some community assistance would be appreciated for a 14-year-old boy who would like a basketball, soccer ball or football. A 12-year-old girl likes to bake and could use some cooking items. A 10-year-old girl likes to paint in acrylics. A 7-year-old sister asks for Shopkin toys. All need clothing and shoes.
  53. A single Mother of three children has a full-time job, but with only $2,500 income each month, she has nothing left over for Christmas gifts. She asks for some help from the community this year for a 9-year-old boy who likes building toys and craft items; an 11-year-old boy who prefers remote control toy cars and “anything basketball.” A 4-year-old girl is into mermaid toys and likes to play dress-up.
  54. Dad works while Mother stays at home to care for five children, including a recently-born boy. Income for this household is less than $3,000 a month, underscoring the need for clothing, shoes and some Christmas gifts. A 13-year-old girl could use a warm hat and some mittens; a 10-year-old girl needs the same. An 8-year-old boy likes board games; his 5-year-old sister favors dolls and puzzles. The newborn could use diapers and baby lotions and oils.
  55. Both parents of two children were working until recently, when Mom was out of a job and $600 for this family, now living on $1,650 a month. For some Christmas help, a 13-year-old boy could use some video games, and his 11-year-old sister asks for an art kit. Both need clothing and shoes.
  56. An unemployed Mother on state assistance is trying to raise five children on $775 a month. To provide a helping hand this Christmas, a 13-year-old boy asks for a set of headphones; a 10-year-old boy likes headphones as well; a 9-year-old boy is a Blazers fan who likes action toy figures; a 4-year-old girl is into Frozen items, and a 4-year-old girl asks for some toys as well. Clothing is much needed in this family.
  57. Mom, a widow, lives on $1,380 in Social Security income and her 18-year-old son helps out with his $450 a month. But it is hard for them to come up with extra income for the two little girls living in the home. An 11-year-old likes Generation dolls, and her 9-year-old sister favors Littlest Pet Shop toys. Both need clothing as well.
  58. A single Mom with $1,200 of income a month wants to give her 11-year-old daughter a good Christmas this year. The girl likes to draw and favors Pokemon items, and perhaps a stuffed dragon would bring a smile. Clothing would be appreciated as well.
  59. Mom recently found work again in this two-adult household with a combined income of less than $2,000 a month to care for a 6-year-old daughter. The little girl likes My Life dolls and hopes for an art kit of some sort this Christmas. Mom says that after bills are paid “there is just no money left over for Christmas presents.”
  60. Mom works part-time while Dad remains on disability in this home with a 10-year-old boy where money is very tight. The child likes Legos and Hot Wheels cars, and could use some clothing and shoes.
  61. Grandmother is raising three children with about $750 of monthly income in a household where an adult daughter lives as well. This will be a very difficult Christmas to provide presents for the children without some help from the community for a 10-year-old girl asking for an art” kit; a 7-year-old girl who likes Little Pet Shop items, and a 5-year-old boy dreaming of a remote control toy car this year. These children also need shoes and clothing.
  62. This is a “very rough year,’ says the Mom as she and her husband seek work. There is really no money for Christmas presents for their three children with the very limited income in this household. To help, a 9-year-old boy likes Pokemon, his 5-year-old brother asks for Fat Brain or Night-Night toys, and their 2-year-old sister would smile over some Frozen toys.
  63. A single working Mother of two says it is hard to make ends meet with her limited income, noting that there will be no money left for Christmas presents after bills are paid. To lend a hand, a 9-year-old girl likes Barbie dolls, and her 3-year-old brother hopes for a toy fire truck or Monster truck this year.
  64. Mom isn’t working and finds it hard to make ends meet with her husband separated from this household with a 20-year-old daughter and two little ones. To provide some assistance, an 8-year-old boy likes Legos and Lincoln Logs, and a 5-year-old girl is a Barbie fan, and likes to play with kitchen toys.
  65. A single Mother of twin 3-year-old girls and a 7-year-old boy just got to work again and is trying hard to catch up with bills. As a result, she says there is no money left over for Christmas presents. To help out, the little girls could use some Frozen or Elsa & Anna dolls, and the boy hopes for Beyblade toys.
  66. $1,800 in Social Security income is the sole support for a single Mother and two boys as she struggles with disability. For a 13-year-old, some Legos or other toys would be helpful, while his 7-year-old brother asks for a scooter. Clothing is also needed in this home.