Daneisha Freeman with her two nephews, Akelay Green, 12, left, and Ondre Freeman, 11, who are brothers whom she is raising.
By Jon Schmitz / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
At Lincoln Park Community Center in Penn Hills this weekend, about 180 children in the Lifeline Community Outreach program will celebrate Christmas with cookies, hot chocolate and gifts.
In the middle of what is certain to be a festive and happily chaotic setting, Daneisha Freeman will be scurrying about, helping in any way she can.
"Several years ago, I saw they needed help, so I jumped in, and I've been helping out ever since," she said.
With her will be the two boys she's raising, her 11-year-old nephew, Ondre Freeman, and his brother, 12-year-old Akelay Green. She adopted Ondre, who lost his father in a car crash in 2005, and is caring for Akelay, who had been in foster care.
"It's a little bit overwhelming having two kids by myself," she said recently, seated at the table in her home in Pittsburgh's Garfield Commons neighborhood, not far from a handsomely decorated Christmas tree.
Ms. Freeman is struggling this holiday season because she is unemployed. She's grateful for the help she gets from her fellow members of Koinonia Church of Pittsburgh in Penn Hills.
"The people from the church are really awesome. They help out a lot, especially when I need someone to talk to. They're always there for me," she said.
She's also thankful for the tree, donated by a social service worker, and for the opportunity to make Christmas complete for the boys with gifts provided by the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.
Lifeline Community Outreach, a ministry program of the church, is one of more than 200 nonprofit agencies that are receiving and distributing toys this season, thanks in part to generous Pittsburgh Post-Gazette readers who donate to the Goodfellows Fund.
The goal of the fund, which started in 1947, is to make sure that every child has a toy under the tree on Christmas morning. Goodfellows donations support Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army's Treasures for Children program.
You can make a tax-deductible donation by using the coupon on this page, or online by visiting www.post-gazette.com/goodfellows.
Every donation will be acknowledged publicly in the newspaper, and privately acknowledged with a family's gratitude on Christmas morning.
"I really appreciate all of the people who donate," Ms. Freeman said.
Today's total: $8,416
Grand total: $76,804.33
Brad Amos, M.D., Ph.D. $1,000
Hicks family $300
In memory of Nathan Raphael $250
Alison and David Palmer $250
In honor of Nick, Justin, Abby and Emma $200
Pamela Weiss $200
In honor of Cameron, Mason, Elizabeth, Emerson, Isen, Graham and Max $175
The Collins family $150
Belinda Howland $150
In memory of Phyllis Stukus $125
Baldasare family $100
Calvin & Alma Eggers $100
Mark & Marsha Bookman $100
In memory of Ronnie Koziak $100
In memory of James $100
Amy Cox $100
In memory of our parents $100
Gerald Bartolomucci $100
Chris & Steve Schrom $100
Jim & Susan Morris $100
In memory of Charles R. Hildebrand $100
Leslie McGee $100
Richard R. McKnight $100
In memory of George Counihan and Herbert Hartman $100
B. Halgas $100
Louise & Michael Malakoff $100
Kenneth Syrko $100
Michael E. Kowalok $80
Ken & Terri Venmar $75
Thomas M. Colella $75
Mr. & Mrs. L.A. Pratt $60
James A. Yard $50
Arlene Timmons $50
LIly Stefanik $50
In memory of Matthew $50
A.S. Runco & Ms. Marjorie Runco $50
In memory of Cleo and Bernard Zytka Sr. $50
Summer & Chelsea Loub $50
In honor of Sherman family $50
In memory of Ralph Wateska $50
Bo Dickey $50
In memory of Grace & Bill Mitchell $50
The Crawford family, Marietta, Ga. $50
In memory of Tom & Alice Kinevey $50
Nana Hartman $50
The Hicks children and grandchildren $50
In memory of Linda Zanardelli by Zanardelli family $50
Jetta & George Svaranowic $50
Jessica, Zachary, Madison Day $50
Leona Scrivo $50
Ms. Janet W. Hirshberg $50
The Burnett family - Robert, Jennifer, Ryan and Reese $50
Deb & Bill McMurray $50
In memory of Dorothy Zima $40
Alex & Nim Dow $35
Ms. Charlotte Donley $30
Thomas & Carole Wills $30
Mary Ann Hubbard $30
Joe & Diane Colapietro $30
Con McGregor $25
Tom Larkin $25
Eugene Klein $25
In memory of Mary Masciantonio Woods & Clyde J. Woods Jr. $25
Sally Meek $25
In memory of Sue Nemeth $25
In memory of Duane T. Seese from grandchildren $25
Toni & Greg Martincevic $25
Don, Trina, Wyatt and Toby Best $25
The Morgans $25
Susan Evrard $25
Rich Piccinini $25
Beverly & Neil Townsend $25
Mr. & Mrs. Art Nicklow $25
Tom & Rita Day $25
In memory of Mary Stanec $20
Carnevale family $20
Dave, Val, Ryan and April Lucas $20
Judy Kennedy $20
Isabella Amenta, London, U.K. $20
Iris Amenta, London, U.K. $20
Joseph Amenta, London, U.K. $20
Noe Goldhaber, Milwaukee, Wis. $20
Daniel Goldhaber, Milwaukee, Wis. $20
Julian Diehl, Einhausen, Germany $20
Konstantin Pfaff, Korntal, Germany $20
Aurelius Pfaff, Korntal, Germany $20
JoAnn Stefanyak $20
O. Scatena $20
Elizabeth Mazur and Martin Rosenberg $18
Rose Turack $15
In memory of Mickey and Helen $10
In memory of Baby Jim $10
R. Charles $10
Ken Thompson $10
In honor of Maia, Eva and Piper Roedersheimer $10
Robert Hannen $3
Jon Schmitz: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1868.
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