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Joseph's Story

For Joseph, there was no Christmas tree last Christmas.

And this Christmas, there’s an even bigger gap in Joseph’s life….

Joseph Daly (age 9) is a little boy attending our services for the past 7 months.

One day, exhausted from hiding his real feelings, Joseph cried and told his teacher Mrs. Allen that his Dad had disappeared just after Christmas last year. He didn’t know where, or if he was coming back. He missed him so much.

Joseph cried and cried and cried. He was just so tired of trying to be like all the other children when in reality, he felt so ashamed. His house was messy and he knew his Mam was trying her best to keep it clean and look after himself and his sisters. Last year his family didn’t even have a Christmas tree or decorations for their house.

Even before his Dad left, Joseph had noticed some things. He had seen how his friends’ parents acted towards each other, and his parents didn’t act the same. They didn’t hug or kiss, or laugh, or watch movies together. His Mam, Anna, would move away from his Dad and his Dad would sometimes grab his Mam’s arm. It looked sore when he did that. Joseph didn’t like when his Dad hurt his Mam. He didn’t really talk much to Joseph. It made Joseph wonder; maybe his Dad wasn’t proud of him?

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Anna and Joseph began to attend one-on-one sessions at Barnardos to work through their feelings over what had happened in their home over the past year. Anna told Michelle, their project worker, that for several years, Joseph’s Dad, Brian, had been mindlessly using what little money the family had... leaving Anna with barely enough to pay the bills and do the shopping. That’s why there was no Christmas tree last year.

Then Brian started spending less and less time at home. Until one day, he just didn’t come home.

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Anna had absolutely no idea what supports were available to help her look after her family. So Michelle helped her apply for what she was entitled to, like securing a medical card, which was such a help in covering the cost of Joseph’s inhalers.

Their home had been falling into disrepair and needed various maintenance jobs. Thanks to the Barnardos Homemaker Service, Michelle arranged for a ‘maintenance man’ to call to the Daly’s home and help them fix the various things that needed fixing. He even cut the grass in the garden, meaning the children could play outside safely.

All these little things are adding up and making every single aspect of everyday life a struggle for so many families. Then of course, there is the big things. Big things like Christmas.

So many children ask for toys. Toys that get fancier and more expensive each year. Toys that many parents are struggling to afford. Not Joseph. Do you know what Joseph said he wanted this Christmas? He just wants a Christmas tree.

Joseph will get his Christmas tree and maybe even some nice treats underneath it this year. Because thanks to the generosity of our wonderful donors like you, that is something, we will be able to give him. It is thanks to your donations that Barnardos can provide one on one support, group work, help around the house, parenting advice… and Christmas trees!

That’s why we are asking you today if you can make a donation, to help give families like Joseph’s the chance of a better Christmas. The chance of a little magic.

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While Joseph’s story is true, we have changed all names used in this story and some other details in order to protect the family’s identity. Photos used are models.