Hometown Holiday Helpers: Single mom in Salem experiences year of loss

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 4:47 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - With all the focus on family, for some, the holidays can serve as a hurtful reminder of who is not present at the dinner table. A single mom in Salem carries the heaviness of grief by staying true to her faith and holding onto hope.

Samantha Richardson is the recipient of a WDBJ7 $700 gift card for our Hometown Holiday Helpers series.

“This is a gift from my mother and God. I’ve had a long year, a hard year,” Richardson said.

While her daughter brings her joy, the single mother to 3-year-old Leelee experienced a year of loss. In March alone, she lost the only father figure in her life and her mother was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Then, in September, after a six-month battle with the disease, her mother passed away.

“You know at 29 years old you never think or imagine that you would not have any parents or grandparents at all,” she said.

This time of year was her mother’s favorite. They would always decorate the home and, of course, their Christmas tree. Her mother’s helping hand extended far beyond the holiday season.

“She helped with my rent and she helped with the electric and gas. She was also my babysitter so I could work,” Richardson said.

Samantha worked at Parkway Brewing Company in Salem and says she enjoyed the work, but with her mom gone, there’s one major reason she’s unable to pour the pints again.

“I enjoyed being able to have a release of mind, but once mom got sick, I could not do that anymore. My boss was like Sam, if you need the time, take the time, and I just haven’t been able to get a babysitter to go back at this point,” she said.

As for what that bundle of joy wants for Christmas... baby dolls and dinosaurs.

“A lot of baby dolls and stuff like that. She likes to take care of people. She took care of my mom with me. She was a big help, regardless if she’s three. She tried what she could do,” Richardson said.

Her faith in God and her hope for a better tomorrow is what gets her through even the darkest of days.

“I never even thought that someone would nominate me for something like this. I think God that y’all chose me, I needed this blessing,” she said.

As for what Samantha plans to do with the money, she says she will make a car payment along with some much needed car repairs and, of course, a few gifts for her daughter LeeLee.

Click here to nominate another Hometown Holiday Helper.

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