Family With 18 Special Needs Kids Struggling Through Pandemic

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Chuck and Penny Hauer, both in their 80s, say they have always had a special place in their heart for special needs kids. 

“There’s so many out there, so may forgotten children,” said Hauer.

Over the course of 60 years of marriage, the Hauer’s have adopted more than 40 special needs children. 

While some still live with them, others have moved out and are now living on their own and some have passed away. 

“We really took children that no-one else wanted,” said Hauer. “We have six children with down syndrome and several that have cerebral palsy."

And now with the spread of COVID-19, the family is finding themselves under a great deal of stress. 

“You know of the six of them that have down syndrome, one of them has a bad heart,” said Hauer. “None of them have really good immune systems. It’s scary for all of them.”

The educational disruptions the virus has caused haven't been easy for the kids either. 

“One of my sons is having a really hard time,” said Hauer. “He has cerebral palsy and he perseverates on things. He always asks ‘did they call you today? And I tell him, ‘no I told you I would tell you if they call. There is no school today’ We do this every day, every single day. He has had a hard time.”

To make matters worse, the family's central air system has stopped working. The Hauer's have been without heat for several weeks. 

“We buy blankets, but some of the kids don’t stay under them,” said Hauer.

And the family can't afford to get it replaced. 

"We’re really hard-pressed with the money issue,” said Hauer.

So for now the family is relying on space heaters to help them get through the cold winter nights.

The non-profit Passion for K.I.D.S has been in touch with the family and is working to try to get the Hauers some help. 

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