EDITOR’S NOTE: The Reindeer Gang is an annual holiday feature that identifies individuals and families with needs. Donations to Carl Bailey and his nephews can be made through Campus Clubs of Macon, 2193 Vineville Ave., Macon, GA 31204. (478-742-7794)
Carl Bailey just had to step in.
His nephews -- Anthony, Trey and John Wiggins -- were living with their mother and two sisters, but they weren’t living well, said Tunga Crudup, program director for Campus Clubs.
“The mom lost housing ... and she had five children just kind of sleeping and staying wherever,” Crudup said.
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So Bailey and girlfriend Latasia Jackson took the boys in, while the two girls went to live with their grandfather.
Bailey said he liked his life as an unmarried man with no children, but that didn’t matter.
“They were family, so I took them,” he said.
At one point, the mother came to get her sons. Despite the changes their presence had forced him to make in his life and schedule, Bailey said that time without the boys was tough on him.
“It was terrible,” he said. “You have somebody around you, and then they’re not there, and you miss them. ... It wasn’t a good feeling.”
The mother’s living situation still hadn’t improved, though, so the Division of Family and Children Services got involved.
Faced with the choice of her children becoming wards of the state, the boys’ mother allowed them to go back into Bailey’s care. So for the most part since spring 2014, Bailey has been caring for himself, Jackson and the three boys on his Social Security payments of about $772 a month.
Anthony is 8, Trey is 7 and John is 6.
“You know, they really, actually would like to be with their mother and their father, but at this point, they have nowhere for them,” Bailey said.
Bailey has done what he can, but the boys aren’t always cared for the way Crudup would like.
Trey even recently came to Campus Clubs wearing two left shoes.
“One was too big, and one was too small,” Crudup recalled.
Because of that, she said, clothing would be the biggest need, in addition to toys. (All three boys are between sizes 6 and 8 in clothes and 1 and 2 in shoes.) Even in the summer, the three boys often wear their school uniform navy or khaki pants.
As for the toys, the brothers enjoy sports such as basketball, but they aren’t going to complain about anything to play with.
“They’re not really picky children,” Crudup said. “Whatever you give them, they’ll play with.”
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.