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Fresh start tops wish list

Nov 30 2012
Amanda Muller with her two kids, Alexsandra and Toby, at the James Bay Community Centre. 

Amanda Muller with her two kids, Alexsandra and Toby, at the James Bay Community Centre.

Photograph by: Lyle Stafford , Times Colonist

Boxes are piled throughout the kitchen and living room in Amanda Muller's Evergreen Court home, and two large cats wend their way carefully through the chaos.

The packing boxes represent a new start for Muller, 11-year-old Alexsandra and nine-year-old Toby, who are moving from Victoria to Saltspring Island.

"I can't manage the hustle and bustle of the city and there's too much trouble for the children to get into," said Muller, 30, whose mother already lives on Saltspring Island. "On Saltspring, there's so much healing energy."

The move was clinched when Muller found a cheap house to rent, complete with a suite that she will rent to a friend.

However, with Christmas approaching, Toby's birthday on Dec. 21, Alexsandra's birthday on Dec. 31 and moving costs, Muller knows she will need help if the family is to have any celebrations.

"I am on disability. I get just under $1,400 a month," said Muller, who has arthritis, degenerative disc disease and depression.

"The Times Colonist fund has helped me out for a couple of years," she said. "With the vouchers I can get them something useful that they will like."

Muller is unable to work. Although she can move around with few problems on some days, on others she cannot walk.

"Sometimes I feel like I have the body of an 80-year-old," she said.

Muller volunteers with the B.C. SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) and has helped with animal rescues and releases.

"I do volunteer work whenever I can, but it's hit and miss," she said.

Both children are looking forward to Christmas, but many of their requests are out of reach, especially as they are now at the age when there is pressure to have brand-name clothes or the latest technological toys.

"This year my daughter was asking for a laptop, but that's just not realistic," Muller said.

"I am hoping with the move to Saltspring we can get away from some of the materialistic kind of stuff."

In the meantime, the packing and organizing will continue. Muller hopes that she and the children, the two cats and pet ferret, will be settling in to their new life on Saltspring before Christmas Day.

The Times Colonist Christmas Fund and its predecessors have been helping people in need better enjoy the holidays since 1956.

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* Use our online form HERE

* Call 250-995-4435

* Mail or drop off in person at the Times Colonist, 2621 Douglas St. Victoria, B.C., V8X 2N4

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