As the holiday season officially gets under way today, so does the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald’s efforts to make the season brighter for needy residents in our community.
Wish Book is a 35-year tradition of which the newspapers are proud, and it carries a mission that we take seriously.
This year, again, hundreds will be helped, and you can be part of it.
Through January, the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald will publish stories showcasing the obstacles of those less fortunate. Every year, the newspapers serve as a bridge between the South Floridians in Wish Book and those in the community yearning to offer them a hand.
Wish Book 2016 features dozens of heartbreaking testimonials.
If one touches you, you can respond with a donation, a job offer, housing assistance, a message of support. Wish Book stories tap the best within us.
“We are very proud of the Wish Book program, which has been the flagship endeavor of Miami Herald Charities for more than 30 years,” Miami Herald Publisher Alexandra Villoch recently said. “The generosity of our readers has helped impact the lives of so many in countless ways.”
Last year, Wish Book raised $430,000 in donations and helped more than 750 individuals and families.
This year’s wishes include: supplies for struggling young adults aging out of the foster-care system; emergency housing assistance for families; technology to assist the disabled; equipment for patients with complex medical problems; a support dog to alert for seizures.
Wish Book will introduce readers to the economic and medical plights of your neighbors. In a year, when we have been divided by our politics, the needs in this community come with no ideological strings attached.
You’ll read about Angelina Serna, 11, who suffers from grand mal seizures. But her mother, her chief caregiver, and two younger sisters have a new worry besides keeping Angelina alive.
Their rented home has been sold, and the family needs a new place to live and a larger minivan to accommodate the girls — along with Angelina’s wheelchair and oxygen tank.
Today, you will read about Peter Baker, 29, who has cerebral palsy and can’t speak or move the right side of his body. His mother is his voice. But Martha Baker, 78, worries about what will happen to her son as she ages.
A speech-generating machine would give him a means to communicate, but, at $5,000, it is cost-prohibitive on his minimum-wage salary at Goodwill Work Activity Center.
Then there’s Sherita Small, who is facing her third Christmas season without her youngest son. Zamari Pierre-Louis was shot and killed in January 2014 at the age of 16. Ms. Small has suffered from depression and other ailments, but she finds comfort in her three grandchildren. She hopes to get a new bed for them and some toys as the holidays draw near.
And Noima Iglesias, 46, is a single mother who lost her home in Cuba and, while studying English and working at Goodwill dreams of citizenship in the United States. Her goal? To make a better life for her 7-year-old daughter Amanda. But the bills are piling up.
To donate, pay securely at MiamiHerald.com/wishbook. To give via your mobile phone, text WISH to 41444. For information, call 305-376-2906 or email wishbook@MiamiHerald.com.
We know this is a generous community — just last week, its members donated a record-breaking $9.1 million on Give Miami Day. We invite you to come through again and make the holidays special for someone else.