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Services available to help families struggling this year with presents under the tree

OKLAHOMA CITY – For many Oklahomans this time of year is especially difficult when putting presents under the tree takes a back seat to keeping the power on or putting food on the table.

However, there are resources for families who are struggling to make ends meet.

Many people look for ways to be charitable around the holidays but for some Oklahomans, their struggles are year-round.

Our state ranks at the top of the list for grandparents raising grandchildren as well as incarcerated women.

These two issues only add to the need.

“Every story is different,” Kelli Dupuy of Sunbeam Family Services said.

“Their needs don’t stop at Christmas,” Dupuy said. “It’s all year round.”

Each holiday season services like Sunbeam and United Way partner with volunteers and organizations across the state to help bring Christmas to children in need.

Their wish lists are as diverse as the situations that bring them here.

Many times those children do not have a house.

But here a little boy named Scotty is fortunate; he lives with his grandparents and has since he was just two months old.

Money is tight for grandma Sharon and grandpa Jeff.

They were not expecting to raise their grandson.

“Scraping and scrimping,” Sharon said about making ends meet.

But they have help like support groups, counseling and assistance with back-to-school shopping, utilities and Christmas.

“I could call and talk to anybody; they were my angel on my shoulder,” Sharon said. “Every year we have backpacks for school. You just want a couple of things under the tree but we didn’t have the money for a couple of things.”

Sunbeam family services has taken care of that.

The smile on Scotty’s face tells it all.

“We just want to set them up for success because their success is critical for our community,” Dupuy said.

If you find yourself in a desperate situation at any time, you can call 211.

The number is statewide and you will be directed to the resources you need to get help.