When Ivanella Alford’s granddaughter didn’t have a winter coat, Alford handed over her own, even though she rides the bus to her job as a hotel supervisor.
That’s the way life has been since Alford, 53, decided to start a second round of child-rearing 13 years ago. She had already raised her own two children, but she couldn’t bear the idea of her infant granddaughter going into foster care. More recently, she also took in a second granddaughter.
That means Alford is always stretching her paycheck to cover the basics. But that’s OK. “I’d rather struggle with them than struggle without them,” she says of 13-year-old Ty’Kelia and 12-year-old Tyyannia.
Alford’s hours depend on the amount of business at her hotel. If she only gets a couple of days a week, the check will be small.
Christmas gifts and other holiday extras have always come from the kindness of donors. Alford says she has taught her daughters to be grateful, not resentful: “We don’t worry about what we ain’t got. We thank God for what we do have.”
Both girls, who are students at Druid Hills Academy, want iPads for Christmas but know they won’t get them. Ty’Kelia’s wish list with the Salvation Army Christmas Bureau includes clothes, hair-styling gear, in-line skates and an MP3 player.
Alford carves out a dollar a week for each girl’s allowance. They’ve been setting aside a few pennies at a time to buy a gift for another child in need. So far they have $5, and Alford plans to take them to a dollar store to shop.
“That’s what they want to do,” she said. “I’m going to help them do it.”