If Bonnie Moran didn’t have her mother and the family house in Mayfair to fall back on, she might be homeless right now.
“I’d definitely be in a shelter right now, because I don’t have anyone else,” said the unemployed 31-year-old mother of three, who struggles with spinal bifida and lupus. “I keep going because I have to. I’ve got kids. I never thought I’d have kids, but I do. I’m lucky.”
In recent months, Moran, who typically lives off $910 a month in a combination of Social Security and food stamp payments, has had an unusually bad run of luck.
On Halloween night, she was beaten and robbed at Cottman and Frankford avenues, a crime that attracted some media attention.
Moran said she and a friend were singled out by a group of 17 attackers who thought they were gay.
“If they hit me in the spine, I’d be crippled,” she said. “I could have been in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.”
A male friend sustained serious injuries while fighting off the attackers, but not before Moran had her wallet stolen, as well heirloom jewelry items from her great-grandparents. All she managed to keep was their wedding band, she said.
“That’s something that you keep in your family for the rest of your life. To have it ripped away from you … it’s like taking a piece of your heart,” Moran said. “All I want for Christmas is my Nan’s jewelry back. But I’ll never see it again.”
Also lost was Moran’s prepaid ATM card worth $400, she said, and $325 in gift cards that she was keeping in the wallet.
“Everything I scrimped and saved,” was how Moran described it.
A criminal case is pending against suspects in the assault and robbery.
“I got jumped 15 blocks from here,” she said at her Mayfair home. “I used to feel safe walking my son up and down this alleyway behind my house at night, but not anymore.”
Moran has recovered from the injuries she sustained, but economically the robbery made life much harder.
“After all my expenses, my remaining income is just $27,” she said. “As of now I have a present for each child. That’s it.”
Moran said she has held odd jobs, but does not work currently. Two years ago, she moved home with her mother.
Her ex-husband helps cover expenses for the two oldest boys, she said, but the youngest son’s father, who lives with Moran, was recently injured during a fall and has been unable to find work.
Caring for the boys, ages 13, 10 and 2, is hard, Moran said. Her oldest son is autistic, and she pays $100 a month for a tutor for him, she said. Her youngest is also autistic, can only speak about a dozen words, and has “major behavioral issues.”
But despite these day-to-day problems, Moran is optimistic that the future will be brighter.
“I already told them, ‘Look, Christmas isn’t gonna be Christmas, this year,’” she said of her son. “My boy told me, ‘Mom, I already have the greatest present ever. And it’s you.”
Bonnie and more than 90 other families around Philadelphia are asking for help through Adopt a Family, a holiday charity to get gifts to families in need, run by ABC Men, Inc.
Visit abcmen.org to learn how to sponsor a family.