Share the Season: Navy family adjusts to costly life in U.S.

12/23/2013 3:54 PM

08/06/2014 9:17 AM

Share the Season is an annual campaign that offers one-time aid to people affected by unforeseen hardships. The people are not identified to protect their privacy.

After being stationed in Italy for three years, this Navy family of four discovered living back in the U.S. is much more expensive.

The 26-year-old husband has been employed with the Navy for seven years. In July, the Navy moved the family to Wichita, where they awaited the shipment of appliances and other belongings.

“Our furniture couldn’t be shipped for several months,” the wife said. “We stayed in a hotel, which we had to pay out of pocket. … We didn’t have pots, pans, anything.”

The apartment on base in Italy came fully furnished, so the family bought many new appliances. What’s more, the family’s vehicle in Italy wouldn’t meet U.S. specifications. So they had to buy a new vehicle, too.

“It seems like nickel and dimes,” the 26-year-old wife said.

Last month, the husband’s father died. The family made the 12-hour drive there and back, paid for lodging and about maxed out the credit card.

“We just had to put everything on the credit cards and didn’t worry about it,” she said. “We couldn’t do anything else.”

This Christmas, the son and daughter – ages 2 and 4 – are getting “simple gifts” for Christmas, like chalkboard paint for the table.

“The kids are too young to understand the struggle to make ends meet,” the family said in their application to Share the Season. “Freeing up some of the bills this month would allow us to be able to put some simple gifts under the tree for our children and food in the kitchen.”

Although Share the Season is helping the family cover bills for this month, the wife said it’s not easy to ask for help.

“This guy never asks for anything,” she said of her Navy husband. “He’s really quiet. He never missed a day of work. He has a lot of pride.”

So far, Share the Season has raised $220,017.

Send contributions to Share the Season at the Wichita Community Foundation, 301 N. Main, Suite 100, Wichita, KS 67202.

To donate online, go to www.sharetheseason.org.

Donors will be listed in The Eagle; please note if you prefer to remain anonymous.

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