The Short of It
After a struggling single mom put her camper on sale on Facebook to buy Christmas gifts for her kids, offers flood in for presents.
When North Dakota resident Elizabeth Garcia lost her job during oil's current downturn, the mom of two didn't know how she was going to afford to buy her kids Christmas gifts.
Her solution? Go public with her plight on Facebook and try to sell her camper for $500 in order to give a real Christmas to her son, 8, and daughter, 5.
No one offered to buy the camper. But within minutes, offers came in for toy donations, retail gift cards and grocery store cards! A local western clothing store called Saddle Up even told Garcia to stop by and pick something out for the kids.
"Nobody should have to go through that stuff at Christmas time," Saddle Up store owner Dori Sparvy told Oil Patch Dispatch. "Everybody needs a little help on occasion, and that's what you do."
Garcis was floored by the response. "I didn't expect so many people to just offer help like they did," she told Oil Patch Dispatch. "We've been more than blessed. If you saw my Christmas tree right now, it is absolutely ridiculous how many presents are under there."
Garcia, who moved to Watford City, N.D., from Colorado in 2012 after getting divorced, spent about 14 months working as a field clerk for a company building a natural gas processing plant before she was laid off.
"I loved that I could always give my kids everything they needed and have all my bills paid," she said.
Now the single mom works part-time at a laundromat and sells dozens of homemade tamales to help pay bills, and her family shares a mobile home with other family members and two friends.
"If somebody needs a place to stay," she said. "I bring them in because I know how it is."
The holiday season tends to bring out the best in people. But according to Garcia, Watford City is special.
"I don't think this would have happened anywhere else," she said. "There are more warm people here than anywhere else I've ever lived."