Make a Difference: Care & Share

Who: Shyla, age 37, her two toddlers and her 12-year-old son

Agency: Care & Share of East Lyme, which provides food, financial and emergency support to individuals and families in East Lyme, Niantic and Salem

Their situation: Shyla has never had much and has not been able to give her children as much as she would wish. She struggles with anxiety, depression and other health issues, and she is unable to work right now. She worries that her 14-year-old car will break down. Irregular child support is another source of stress. Two small children and her special-needs son take her time and attention. Her income is well below the poverty level. She says her greatest strength is her faith, prayer and visits from her church.

What to give: Some little luxuries for Shyla might include a manicure and beauty items. The family would appreciate a membership at the Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut, which they have never visited; movie tickets, a day at Mystic Aquarium or any family activity. Her son likes basketball. Shyla likes to cook. Grocery store gift cards would help. Her greatest wish, though, is "happiness for her children."

To Donate: Checks made out to Care & Share, generic gift cards (MasterCard or Visa) or grocery store gift cards may be mailed to Care & Share of East Lyme, attention: Norman Bender, president, P.O. Box 114, East Lyme, CT, 06333 or call (860) 739-8502.

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