Family worries about a Christmas for their children
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
12/04/12 at 4:51 AM
Last year the Browns were buying presents for children on the Angel Tree, but this year they were trying to find out how to get their children on it.
A series of events has led to financial hardship for Beau and Michelle Brown, as well as his mother, Sue Brown.
They live together in a small duplex with Beau and Michelle Brown's two sons, Bradley, 2, and Tucker, 6 months.
Late last year, Michelle Brown became sick while pregnant with Tucker. Doctors didn't know what was wrong but she was having trouble walking and eating. She lost her voice, which meant she lost her job at a call center.
Beau Brown took off so much time to be with Michelle and care for Bradley while she was sick that he lost his job as well.
Both are now looking for work but haven't found anything yet. Sue Brown works but they have only one car, so Beau and Michelle Brown have to look for work within walking distance.
If they both get a job, they would have to pay child care, too.
Tucker was born three weeks early and had to be transported by helicopter to the Children's Hospital at St. Francis. His weight got down to 4 pounds 4 ounces.
He has since stabilized and is doing well now.
After the baby was born, they moved in with Beau Brown's mother, but when the landlord found out, the family was evicted. They had to find a new place and pay a deposit they had trouble affording.
"It's like a snowball effect," Beau Brown said. "It's just one thing after another."
Sue Brown turned to the Salvation Army for help paying utility bills because her salary couldn't cover everything, like food and diapers for the children.
She has borrowed from her 401k and used all her savings. They turn to the church food bank regularly, she said.
"I don't have anything else to draw on," she said. "I've used everything I have."
The van needs a tune-up and new tires. The Browns don't own a computer, which makes filling out online work applications difficult.
Beau Brown would like to go to a technical school to help him find work but they can't afford the tuition.
Without help, there won't be any Christmas presents for the children.
There are little things that make their situation frustrating, too. Sue Brown would like to do more crafting. They would like to take in the stray cat that wanders around the area but they can't afford the pet deposit.
The Browns said they never thought they would be in a situation like this.
"I was always raised that family takes care of family and you work and take care of the bills," Sue Brown said.
About the Neediest Families Fund Drive
The Neediest Families Fund Drive was established in 1928 to provide assistance to families in need during the holidays and for the coming year.
This year's goal is to raise $300,000 by Christmas Eve. Last year's goal was exceeded; $334,888 was raised.
Each Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday through the holiday season, the Tulsa World will spotlight families chosen by The Salvation Army to receive help through this year's fund.
None of the money raised is used for administrative costs.
Cash is not given directly to the families. They are given vouchers for specific needs.
To help families such as the one featured today, send a check or money order to the Neediest Families Fund Drive, in care of the Tulsa World, P.O. Box 21920, Tulsa, OK 74121-1920.
Donations are tax-deductible, and donors can be anonymous.
Original Print Headline: Series of setbacks hits family
Shannon Muchmore 918-581-8378
The Brown family, including Sue Brown (left), Bradley Brown, Beau Brown (center), Michelle Brown and Tucker Brown are shown in their Owasso home last week. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
The Brown family, including Beau Brown (top), Bradley Brown (left), Michelle Brown (right) and Tucker Brown, gather at their home in Owasso on Thursday. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World