By Reggie Ellis

Betty Stallion had stopped wishing for things to happen.

She had stopped wishing for her husband not to abuse her. She had stopped wishing for her husband not to spend the family's sole income on booze. She had stopped wishing for a better life for her and her four children.

In August, she had stopped wishing and instead made it happen when she kicked her husband out of the house in the 400 block of Quince Avenue.

Unfortunately his paycheck went with him. Betty is now a single mom taking care of four children with special needs - Ricky, 12, Johnny, 14, Betty, 23, and Sandy, 29. With no job skills and such a demand on her time it is impossible for her to work. All of the money she gets from the state is just enough to feed her family. Her husband pulled all of the children out of school so they have not been to school in several years.

For a family thrown into poverty, Christmas was just another wish. And on Dec. 16 that wish came true when Visalia radio station KDUV-FM pulled up and delivered a car load of Christmas presents.

"I'm just stunned," Betty said. "It is hard to believe that anything like this would happen to us."

Joe Croft, a disc jockey and host of "Joe and Shannon in the Morning," said the Stallions were one of two families in Exeter, out of 65 families from Bakersfield to Fresno, who were selected for the station's "Christmas Wish 2004."

"The people giving are crying more than the people getting," Croft said. "And many of their stories are the same, 'I remember when I was in need and would have liked it if someone could help.'"

Since 2000, the Christian radio station has asked listeners to nominate families for a 10-day period following Thanksgiving. The stories are read on the air and listeners are asked to donate money to help bring Christmas to a needy home. More than $65,000 was raised to provide food, clothing, toys and even appliances for needy families.

"The generosity of our listeners amazes me," Croft said. "Our faith tells us to help those who are in need. You don't need a radio station to tell you how to do this. If you want to give to someone just look around the corner and you will find someone in need."

The Stallions were nominated by Robin Perna, Ricky's kindergarten teacher six years ago, who was there to help unload the gifts.

"I don't have the money to make that kind of donation but I knew I could help," Perna said. "I feels good to help someone who needs it so much."

Each of the children received a new outfit including shirts, pants, socks and shoes, stuffed animals and other toys. The entire family received $600 in gift certificates for food. And Mom received something she had never had - a VCR, TV and gift certificates to rent movies from Blockbuster.

"They are lucky if they get one present each from my parents for all of Christmas," Betty said. "This is more than we have ever had. I just don't know what to say."

Another Lincoln teacher, Deanna Cardoza, nominated another Exeter family - the Pe

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