As part of our Bearing Witness 2.0 project, the Huffington Post is rounding up compelling local stories about the victims of the recession.
A nine-year-old boy named Adam in Wichita, Kan., is spending his third straight holiday season collecting toys to give out to others, reports KAKE-TV's Abby Barnett. What makes this even more poignant is that Adam's father was recently laid off -- but Adam is still dedicated to give to others instead of worrying about his own Christmas.
"I think not even half of one percent of [holiday joy] is receiving," he told Barnett, "but most of it is giving."
Adam's mother, Kimberleigh, told the Wichita Eagle's Ron Sylvester that Adam was only six when he started asking how he could help the less fortunate. So far this year he has collected over 950 toys from businesses and private donors -- a new personal record. His goal is to get to 1,500. The toys Adam collects are donated to the Catholic Charities' Christmas Sharing toy drive.
A 35-year-old widowed mother in Pleasant Gap, Pa., is worried about losing her home after just having lost her husband, the Altoona Mirror's Ashley Gurbal reports. Dustin Manning died in a hunting accident on Nov. 30, when he fell out of a tree after shooting an eight-point buck. He and his wife, Christine, were already behind on their mortgage, and if she cannot pay $50,000 in back payments and fees by Jan.14, Christine and their two-year-old son will be kicked out.
"We understood that there was a possibility that we were going to have to move," she told the Mirror, "and I could have handled that, because it was going to be the three of us. I can't do it by myself."
Dustin, an independent contractor who installed drywall, could not afford life insurance, and had none at the time of his death. His family and Christine's sister paid for the funeral and cremation costs.
Each year in Michigan's Livingston County, the Daily Press & Argus publishes a list of abandoned properties across the county that will be auctioned off because of outstanding back taxes. Last year the paper had ten pages worth of listings. Jim Totten reports that this year there are 38 pages, a sign of what the county treasurer called and "unprecedented" number of abandoned buildings.
Many of the properties are half-finished buildings where developers have cut their losses and simply walked away. After two years of delinquent taxes, the properties are forfeited to the government, and eventually sold at auction, according to state law. The listings in the Daily Press & Argus are meant as a signal to the owners: It's their last chance to pay up before losing the property.
Last Labor Day weekend, Kenny Casebolt, a 58-year-old Vietnam-era veteran, was laid off from the Fayetteville, Ark., hospital where he worked. Rusty Garrett reports for the Ozark region's Times Record that Casebolt could not find another job, and before long was living in his car next to the Mulberry River.
He was there for almost a year, Garrett reports. But Casebolt had no medication for his diabetes, and his condition became aggravated. He eventually went to the emergency room, where staff put him in touch with the local Veterans Administration, which helped get him follow-up care and place him in a residential shelter in Form Smith, Ark., run by the Next Step Day Room.
When Casebolt was first shown his room, he commented upon how welcome the bed would be. Gabriel said she mistook his remarks to mean he was tired. He explained to her he longed for the simple pleasure of reclining as he slept, rather than sitting upright in a car seat as he had for the past year.
Now back receiving regular assistance, Casebolt is working with a VA case manager to find a job and save for his future.
HuffPost readers: Seen a compelling local story? Have a neighbor going to bizarre lengths to get through the recession? Tell us about it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.