Marcus and Jeanna Brewington are raising nine children, aged 4 to 19, with a disability income that is barely more than the salary of a minimum-wage job.
The couple receive food stamp assistance, but after paying rent and basic living expenses, they usually only have about $ 25 per month in disposable income.
When their only running vehicle, a 2003 Mazda Protege, broke down last month, the family’s routine from healthcare to shopping was interrupted.
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The family owns a 2003 GMC Yukon, but it broke down some time ago. The Yukon can accommodate up to nine passengers, according to online specifications, and is ideal for carrying 13-year-old Marcus Jr., who currently uses a wheelchair due to a genetic disability.
“We couldn’t make it to the grocery store and the doctor said I was ‘non-compliant’ in making my appointments,” Marcus Sr. said in a pre-Christmas interview.
One of the couple’s main concerns has been getting their youngest children to the school bus stop, located about a mile from their home northeast of Ocala.
Marcus Sr., who is the music minister at the Baptist Missionary Church in New Jerusalem, said without transportation the family could not attend church services.
He said when the car was running he was able to do some small jobs. The family got a ride from friends and managed as best they could over the past few weeks.
But that all changed just before Christmas. Thanks to Community With A Heart donors, $ 1,065.02 was allocated to repair the Mazda Protege ‘, and the family was on the road again.
“It helps a lot. We can go to doctor’s appointments and bring the little ones to school,” Jeanna Brewington said.
Marcus Sr. said the moving vehicle was a blessing.
But the family may still need help with repairs to their Yukon.
The CWAH program allows up to $ 1,200 in allowance for the needs of a family. Any additional aid must be spaced at least five years apart.
Marcus Sr., 42, a former cook at a local seafood restaurant, has suffered five heart attacks and has an open stomach during eight hours of nightly home kidney dialysis due to end-stage kidney disease. He’s looking for a transplant.
Jeanna Brewington, who worked in non-emergency medical transport, met Marcus at church. They have been married for 13 years.
Jeanna, 39, has nerve damage to her hips and problems with sciatica and is a stay-at-home mom.
The children are Marcus Jr .; Jeanne, 4 years old; Mar’Jea, 6 years old; Marcius, 9 years old; Marquinn, 11 years old; Marquis, 12 years old; Jeanette, 14 years old; Jeannerria Wilcher-Brewington, 17; and Jeau’stize (Errol) Wilcher-Brewington, 19, who aspires to drive a long-haul platform.
The children gathered in the family’s front yard a few days before Christmas to play and prepare for Christmas Day.
The eldest of the family, Melody Brewington, 22, lives in Polk County.
Well-behaved children assigned tasks. For example, Jeanetta could do the dishes and Marcius could be assigned to sweep the floor.
Asked about Christmas, Marcus Sr. pointed out that the family was together for the holidays. The family has a tradition that all the children sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve and reunite with their parents the next morning.
Community With a Heart continues to serve Ocala / Marion County
In its 35th year, CWAH “has raised over $ 1.8 million – of which $ 74,290.43 was raised during the 2020-2021 campaign – to help those in need in Marion County “, according to a backgrounder provided by CWAH President Monica Bryant, along with Marion County Children’s Alliance.
Jason Halstead, executive director of Brother’s Keeper, a ministry of the Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, represented CWAH with the Brewingtons and helped the family with the program.
Halstead said the family can now make doctor’s appointments and other essential travel.
“The Brewingtons are a great example of the Marion County community coming together to help a family get back on their feet,” said Halstead.
How to help
To Donate: Send checks to Community With a Heart, PO Box 1777, Ocala, FL 34478. Donations are tax deductible. There is no overhead cost and every penny donated is intended to help the residents of Marion County.
List of current needs
Marion County Children’s Alliance: Emergency Motel / Hotel Shelter Fund for Victims and Survivors of Domestic Violence; gas cards, new unwrapped toys or gift cards for teens 12 to 18 years old. Call (352) 438-5993.
Brother’s Keeper: gas cards, bus passes, unwrapped toys for children 1 to 12 years old. (352) 622-3846.
Salvation Army: Shampoo and conditioner, coats for children 2-12 years old, towels, bedding, bus passes, and canned foods. (352) 732-8326.
Interfaith emergency services: towels, coats for all ages, bus passes and non-perishable food (352) 629-8868.
How to request help
To request assistance from Community With a Heart, contact one of the following agencies to be referred to the program for assistance: Marion County Children’s Alliance, Brother’s Keeper, Interfaith Emergency Services, Marion County School Social Services, Salvation Army, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc., Ocala Housing Authority, Soul Harvest Ministries, Isaiah Foundation, City of Ocala, Central Florida Community Action Agency, Marion County Community Services, and Habitat for Humanity.