United Christmas Service helps families in need

The Christmas Room
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Angela Cain/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Community service agencies are facing a big rise in requests for help this holiday season. More families cannot afford Christmas presents for their children in a tougher economy. There is a way you can help make their seasons bright through the United Christmas Service.

The Christmas Room - decked in holiday style each year - grants thousands of Christmas wishes. The room houses the United Christmas Service, a campaign from the United Way of Central Indiana.

Workers here process requests for Christmas help for families in need. They help families like the McDuffies. Laurie McDuffie is a single mother of three, giving the gift of time to two-year-old Lauren. She reads to her daughter and encourages her to experiment with animal noises.

But McDuffie cannot afford gifts at Christmas for her children.

"My concern was not seeing smiles on my kids' faces," she said.

A US Army veteran, she is struggling to make ends meet.

"I have been going through some storms," she explained.

The trouble started at basic training six years ago when she broke her leg.

"I had just got done with the second lap and I actually heard it crack. It was my left femur," she said.

That led to more health complications, disability and joblessness last year. The storms did not subside.

"Went to the doctor back in August and come to find out I have stage one bone cancer and osteoporosis," she said.


That might be enough to make a person lose hope, but not Laurie McDuffie.

"This is not gonna get the best of me. This is not gonna hold me down. I have three beautiful children who are dependent on Mommy," she said.

McDuffie also has faith that is unshaken by her troubles.

"Stressing is not gonna help. Worrying is not gonna help. Losing sleep is not gonna help. Just give it to God," she said.

Blessings are starting to flow for McDuffie and her children. The United Christmas Service has 'adopted' the McDuffie children and will deliver Christmas gifts to their home.

"They're gonna be excited," she said. "When I was in the Army, me and my oldest son, we always adopted families."

Now their good deeds are being repaid.

This mom can't wait to witness her children's joy on Christmas morning.

"I know now that they're gonna be okay and gonna have a wonderful and beautiful Christmas thanks to United Christmas Service," McDuffie said. "It is a blessing. It is a true blessing."

The United Christmas Service needs your help to bring Christmas to families in need. It hopes to raise $760,000 to help more than 20,000 families.

You can donate money or adopt a family. Call the United Christmas Service at 924-1454 or donate online. You can also buy a Channel 13 Sunrise Cookbook at any Marsh or O'Malia's store to benefit the United Christmas Service.