CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kimberly was doing well, working full-time and raising her three children by herself, until she was struck with a string of calamitous bad luck.
She lost her job without warning. She fell ill. While she was at a doctor's appointment, her house caught on fire.
Some of her belongings were salvageable, but the house was not inhabitable.
Kimberly and her children, ages 6, 11 and 15, moved in with her sister and her teenage son.
Meanwhile, many of her salvageable possessions were stolen out of the burned out house.
Friends have helped out with clothing, but the children each lost laptops and they will need new beds, linens, blankets and other household items.
Kimberly is searching for a new job and has applied for an apartment, but she's not sure where she'll get the money for a rental deposit, moving expenses and first and last month's rent.
Kimberly has applied for unemployment insurance and is receiving food stamp benefits, but with four extra people in her sister's house, finances are strained. Electric, heat and water bills have all gone up.
Kimberly reached out to the Heart and Hand Community Service Center, in South Charleston, for help.
In 2012, Heart and Hand helped more than 7,000 people in the Kanawha Valley with utility bills, medical bills and money for food and rent.
Heart and Hand has a special focus on helping parents of young children. They always need diapers, blankets, formulas, cribs, warm clothing and other household items.
To support Heart and Hand's mission, please consider donating to the Gazette Charities Christmas Funds.
When you make a donation to the Gazette Charities, every penny goes to the agencies and people who need help.
The Gazette covers the administrative costs of the fund. All donations to Gazette Charities are tax-deductible.To donate online, go to wvgazette.com and click on the Gazette Charities Christmas Fund logo.