EDITOR’S NOTE: The Reindeer Gang is an annual Telegraph series that identifies individuals and families with needs during the holidays. Donations should be made directly to the sponsoring agency, church or charity. Contributions for the Leggett family can be made through Kids Yule Love, P.O. Box 2011, Macon, GA 31203 (478) 741-3032.
When she was a little girl, ZaShica Brown Leggett knew Santa Claus would always have a gift with her name on it inside his sleigh.
“I would get a baby doll every Christmas,’’ she said.
Now she has children of her own, but there are never any dolls under the tree on Christmas morning.
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ZaShica and her husband, Tracy, have three sons, so the list is full of things like bicycles, electronic games, drum sets and footballs.
This year, however, red may be the primary color of the Christmas season in more ways than one.
“We have told them they’re not going to get everything on the list, and they’re probably only going to get one thing,’’ ZaShica said.
Tracy and ZaShica are both unemployed and trying to find jobs. They have had to downsize and cut back on many of their living expenses. They had one of their cars repossessed.
Tracy, a cook, lost his job at an assisted living facility. ZaShica worked at a day care for five years, but she took some time off when her youngest child was born with several health issues. By the time she was able to return to work, the day care had closed its doors. She is now attending school at Central Georgia Tech, taking classes in business administration.
Their oldest son, ZaQhadius Hollingshed, is 12 years old. Their middle son, Jamevans Hollingshed, is 10. Zyair Leggett, the youngest of the boys, is 14 months old.
“The two oldest boys know we’re having a hard time, and they understand,’’ ZaShica said. “This is the first year we’ve been in a position where we don’t see Christmas the way we’re used to seeing it. It’s heartbreaking. When I was growing up, my parents always tried to make sure we got everything we wanted.’’
The Reindeer Gang is trying to help the family through donations to Kids Yule Love.
ZaShica’s father, Evans Brown, is the pastor at the True Faith Church of God in Christ on Jeffersonville Road. Her mother, Pearlie Brown, is one of the church’s co-founders.
Pearlie Brown said she suggested to her daughter that the family go through Kids Yule Love to help with toys for the children.
“It’s hard for me to see them not having,’’ Pearlie said. “In the past, we’ve always been able to make it on our own and take care of our obligations. But we can’t do it now. When it comes to family, you lay your pride aside.’’
-- Ed Grisamore