The pandemic may have canceled a lot of events this year, but we were not going to let it get in the way of our annual Holiday Wish campaign. For the past four years, Fun 107 and the United Way of Greater New Bedford have joined forces to help SouthCoast families that are in need. The holidays can be stressful for struggling parents, and for the fifth year of Holiday Wish, we wanted to ease the burden for families who need it most.

Wareham's Barbara Oliveira has been raising her grandchild Jasmine since she was seven months old. Jasmine is now eight, and those eight years have been a bumpy road. Jasmine has a neurological disease called dyspraxia, which affects speech, motor skills, and thought perception. On top of that, she is diabetic.

Barbara’s love and dedication to Jasmine shine brightly. She spends every minute of every day making sure Jasmine has whatever she needs. But times got harder when Barbara lost her job.

“A lot of daycares do not have a nurse, and she requires insulin,” Barbara said. She was able to secure a place in the summer, but said, “I was unable to secure daycare for her (after that), so I lost my job after 23 years due to COVID.” The pandemic caused a lot of changes amongst daycare facilities, and without the help of a nurse, Barbara had no choice but to stay home with Jasmine and take care of her full time. Barbara collects unemployment, but time is running out because those checks are scheduled to stop this month.

Barbara is a modest woman and seemed hesitant to have the spotlight on herself rather than her granddaughter, but she managed to describe the anxiety that she feels when it comes to paying bills on time and tending to Jasmine.

Mortgage payments and meals are at the top of Barbara’s priority list, leaving the thought of holiday gifts more stressful than ever. That’s where we come in.

Jasmine’s holiday wish is for the L.O.L. Snow Chalet for her L.O.L. dolls, and a Nintendo Switch.

When it comes to Barbara, all she wants is “a better year,” and while we will pray for a better 2021, we pressed her a bit more to let us in on her real wish list, which includes a new refrigerator.

“The insulin is stored in the refrigerator, and sometimes it freezes on the bottom, so I have to be careful,” Barbara said. Also, new tires for her car would help Barbara get Jasmine to her appointments safely.

Any donation makes the season a little brighter for Barbara and Jasmine.

Text to Donate: Text WISHES to 313131. You will be sent a United Way e-link that allows you to make a donation via credit card to this family when you select the day and date of which family you wish to help from the drop-down menu.

By Check: Make checks payable to the United Way of Greater New Bedford and in the memo line, write HOLIDAY WISH and the day and date of the family you wish to help. Checks can be mailed to United Way of Greater New Bedford, 128 Union Street, Suite 105, New Bedford, MA 02740.

Donate by Credit Card: You can make a secure donation to the United Way via credit card HERE. Select the day and date of the family you wish to help from the "Please Select a Family" drop-down menu.

All of our families are pre-selected through the United Way of Greater New Bedford. If you are in need of assistance, please contact the United Way directly.

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