Jackie Robinson West champ has no home of his own
America’s favorite Little League team has been receiving a lot of support these days for their work on the field.
But one of them could really use out help. See, 12-year-old Jackie Robinson West team member Jaheim Benton and his family have been homeless since June.
Jaheim’s mom [Devona Benton,] says it all started when her hours as a home care provider at Catholic Charities were cut after losing three clients. Her fiance, Jaheim’s father, Frank Jackson, works as a part-time radiator technician. But she says the two can’t support the family on the salaries from their part-time jobs.
As the family struggles to find a home, Jaheim — No. 8 on the Jackie Robinson West team — returned to Chicago on Monday a star. He scored five runs in Williamsport during the team’s seven games there.
Now, Jaheim stays with his dad, Jackson, at the Auburn Gresham home of a family friend and coach on another team he has played for.
At the most exciting time in Jaheim’s life, his family remains apart.
“I’m trying to do the best I can and get us back together,” his mom said.
Besides Jaheim, Devona has a 16-year-old son to provide for. She also supports her 30-year-old daughter and her three children.
“I went from 80 hours every two weeks to 36 hours. That’s a big cut,” Devona Benton told the Sun-Times. “We just didn’t have enough. We live from paycheck to paycheck.” The family’s working members would combine their paychecks to make the $850 rent, but it still wasn’t enough.
Devona has been at her job for the past seven years. This is the first time she’s ever lost her home.
Despite it all Devona is committed to keeping Jaheim focused on one thing: his love for baseball. He will enter seventh grade at Langford Community Academy in West Englewood next week. He hopes to play for the Chicago White Sox when he grows up.
UPDATE: Since the story broke, Chicago-based funeral home Leak & Sons has offered to pay rent for Jaheim’s family for a year! Great news!
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