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Family hunts to survive

by KAYE THORNBRUGH
Staff Writer | December 6, 2020 1:06 AM

As part of the annual Press Christmas for All Campaign, we share with readers the stories of the people applying for help. Here’s one of them.

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“Serena” and “David” are accustomed to providing for themselves.

They hunt and fish for sustenance throughout the year. In the winter, they rely on the firewood they cut themselves to heat the home where they’re raising five children under the age of 13.

Three of the kids come from David’s previous relationship. Their mother hasn’t been involved in their lives for years. She provides no support.

“She chose to do drugs over caring for her children,” Serena said. “It’s been hard on the older kids.”

The family also took in Serena’s niece, a teen struggling with depression.

“She tried to commit suicide,” Serena said. “Her mom didn’t have the time to handle her.”

They had to add a bedroom to their small home in order to accommodate her.

A stay-at-home mom, Serena said it was a challenge to homeschool six kids, including one with special needs, while physical schools were closed. Still, the family made the best of it.

“When schools were closed down, there were a lot of issues,” she said. “They missed their friends.”

Now that school is back in session, she said the kids are happier. But the family car needs repairs to make it safe to drive them to school in the winter.

“I struggled to get them to school, but I made it,” Serena said.

Money is tight, so the family relies on the meat they hunt in order to survive. Though hunting saves costs, the tradeoff is space. They have only a small freezer, Serena said, which makes it difficult to store food.

“I can’t do monthly shopping for vegetables because I don’t have the room to store them,” she said. “But you can’t just eat meat.”

Serena’s wish this Christmas is for a deep freezer, which would help her store enough meat to feed her family year-round and make space for fresh vegetables and other food.

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This is the 35th year Press Christmas for All has worked to brighten the lives of Kootenai County residents in need.

Each year, Press readers donate generously to the program. Every penny raised is distributed to Kootenai County residents. All overhead costs are covered by The Hagadone Corp.

The gift recipients are our neighbors who are struggling, including the elderly, disabled, homeless and mentally ill.

Many who seek assistance from Christmas for All are working, but living near or below the poverty level. The beneficiaries of Press Christmas for All are going to keep their dignity intact while the community provides a hand up to help get them 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) nonprofit, run entirely by volunteers.

Please help. Make your tax-deductible donation today any of four ways:

• Mail 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 over the phone: 208-664-8176

• Go to cdapress.com. Click on Christmas for All 2020 at the top of the page.

• Drop off your check at The Press weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.: 215 N. Second St. in downtown CDA.