Gifts of the Magi Stories


Last year, 89 individuals were served by the Gifts of the Magi. Here are a few their stories.

Standing beside a an expectant mother

Geri was seven months pregnant with her sixth child when her husband deserted her. She was the primary caregiver for her children and including a two-year-old with special needs. She had $300, not enough to have her utilities turned back on at their home.
Determined to keep her family together, she found assistance reconnecting her utilities, applied for food stamps and found a job that she could start when her newborn turned three months old.

Having faith that everything would work itself out for the better, Geri was alarmed to receive a notice that her family owed more than $3,800 in real estate back taxes. These were taxes her husband hadn’t paid in over four years. Geri didn’t want to lose the home that they owned. She just needed time to get back to work so she could start paying back the taxes owed.

A social worker referred Geri to the Gifts of the Magi as the hardship of losing the family home would have been insurmountable and would have thrust the family into homelessness.

Through your support of Gifts of the Magi, Geri and her six children and living at home. She’s working and paying down her real estate tax bill.


Enabling a family to return to work

Fifty-seven-year-old Susan, shares a well-worn car with her autistic adult son Andrew. When Andrew’s health declined, Susan stopped working to care for him. Once he was feeling better, he was ready to apply for a new job at Goodwill, and Susan was ready to return to work.

However, the air conditioning in their car stopped working. This led to a long, hot summer that threatened further health complications as the mother and son are heat intolerant and struggle to breathe in high temperature situations. They had put what little money they had into repairing the clutch on the car, but lacked the more than $1,000 to repair the car’s air conditioning unit.

They wanted to work but getting to work was a challenge. So they turned to the Gifts of the Magi for assistance.

Through your support, Susan’s car was repaired. Her and Andrew are both working.


Providing shelter for a college student

Allison works full-time at the University of Cincinnati but was carrying a huge debt due to excessive spending with credit cards. She finally got her spending under control and began paying down her debt when she received notice that she had to move to make room for her landlord’s family in her unit.

Allison found another apartment near work for her and near her son’s high school, but it lacked an oven. She couldn’t afford to buy an oven and she stopped using her credit cards. While visiting the Life Learning Center to strengthen her skills in the hopes of finding a better paying position at U.C., Allison learned about the Gifts of the Magi.

With the assistance of a social worker, Allison received support from the Gifts of the Magi to purchase an oven from Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati ReStore.

Now, she can cook healthy, affordable meals for her son and herself at home.


Enabling a family to rebuild their lives

Arthur moved his family from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in search for a better life in America with the assistance of the Children’s Rescue Center (CRC) in Springfield. While the CRC had great intentions, they didn’t realize the magnitude of assistance a family seven would need to establish a home in a new country.
While Arthur is fluent in English, his wife and children only speak French. He was a library administrator in the Congo and has a degree in Library Science. In order to secure a job in the United States, he will need his transcripts evaluated and background checks completed. The Second Harvest Food Bank offered some assistance, connected the family to the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Team and Gifts of the Magi for immediate needs.

Through your support of Gifts of the Magi, Arthur and his family received support for two months’ rent, money for the international background check and gift cards for food that cannot be supplied at the food pantry.


Providing independence

Fifty-nine-year-old Julie has been unable to walk for the last six years due to complications from a surgical procedure. Despite attempts at physical therapy and rehabilitation at Drake, nerve damage has left Julie confined to a wheelchair that is increasingly difficult for her 79-year-old husband to manage.

She longs for more independence as she doesn’t want to be a burden on anyone.

Through your support of the Gifts of the Magi, Julie received a folding electric mobility chair that would have cost her $2,600. In gratitude she wrote:
“I really appreciate your thoughtfulness. After being in this condition and having reached out to so many agencies and being turned down, I am overwhelmed and grateful for your assistance. I am impressed by how you serve God and show His compassion. Thank you so much!”