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Lantana teenagers in need while mom works two jobs this holiday season

Posted at 12:07 AM, Dec 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-06 00:08:00-05

Christmas just isn't financially feasible for Chandra Martin, a working single mom with four teenage daughters, including one with disabilities.

"My kids know that when I have it, I can provide it. If I don't have it, I can't provide it," Martin said. "So my kids are very thankful and I instilled that in them that Christmas is a time of giving, but also remember sometimes you're going to have and sometimes you won't have."

Martin and her daughters are most thankful just to have a house this Christmas because last year, they were homeless.

"A lot of times we slept in the car," Martin said, who was working a part-time job at the time but couldn't afford a stable place for her family to live.

Martin got her current house in Lantana through the housing authority and furnished it with free items she found that people were giving away, but she’s working two jobs, one seven days a week and the other four days a week, just to pay bills.

"Every day, it may be a struggle, but at the end, it pays off because I try to keep a smile on their faces," she said.

While Martin works long hours, her 16-year-old daughter takes care of the 13-year-old triplets. One of the triplets has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. After school, Carter helps her sisters with their homework, cooks their dinner, puts them to bed and goes to sleep herself until her alarm wakes her up at 3 a.m. to do her own homework before school.

“I know that I have to take care of them as the responsibility of a big sister, but at the same time, I don’t have a life," Eunjahia Carter said.

Martin wants to provide her girls with a special holiday, but she can't afford presents with her budget and found out a couple of popular toy drives only serve children up to 12 years old.

But the United Way of Palm Beach County is collecting toys and gifts for children up to 18 years old. They just need people to think about those teenagers when they're shopping for donations.

“Usually people think of the holidays and they get gifts for five-year-olds, six-year-olds, seven-year-olds," said Laurie George, president/CEO of United Way of Palm Beach County. "There really aren’t enough to go around to the teenagers. it’s easy to pick up a five dollar set of headphones or a game.” 

Some gift ideas for teenagers are headphones, electronics accessories, nail polish or makeup sets, perfume or cologne, sports equipment or board games.

People can drop new, unwrapped toys and gifts off at WPTV from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, December 7 for the toy drive. Donations can also be dropped off Thursday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

As for Martin's girls, they have a short wishlist, such as tablets, clothes and 'Baby Alive' dolls for the triplets. 

They said they'd be appreciative of any gift. They're especially thankful for their mom.

Their mom's holiday wish is for a job that will allow her to work daytime, weekday hours, so she can be home with her girls on the weekends and in the evenings. She also doesn't have a car right now and uses an Uber to get to work. She said her family could really use a wheelchair accessible van so they can go places together.

She also said she could use grocery store gift cards to buy groceries for the family.