Empty Stocking Fund

During a rough family transition, donors help bring joy to two boys at Christmas

Keianna Sims can’t contain her excitement when she talks about her kids: 3-year-old Kody, who lights up the room when he walks into his Head Start class, and 5-month-old Kaison, whom she calls her “conversation piece” because of how he charms strangers everywhere he goes.

But this year has been a challenging one for Sims and her boys.

Keianna Sims recently separated from Kody and Kaison’s dad, and she and the boys are now staying with Keianna’s family while she searches for a job and a place of their own. There are seven people and a dog living in the three-bedroom, two-bath home in west Charlotte, so Keianna sleeps in the living room.

Now that Kaison is getting older and Keianna Sims feels better about leaving him in daycare, she’s starting to apply for the kinds of jobs she’s held in the past, as a patient-care aide or doing health screenings.

Keianna says that although this year has brought its share of pain, “I can honestly say that everything I went through was a blessing in disguise.”

“I can’t really complain because I know there are always people that are worse off than me,” she says. “I’m really blessed to have the good children I have.”