Volunteers inspired to help Christmas Mother program Volunteers inspired to help Christmas Mother program
An estimated 1,400 families in need will know that people care about them this month, thanks to the Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother program. “I’ve... Volunteers inspired to help Christmas Mother program

An estimated 1,400 families in need will know that people care about them this month, thanks to the Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother program.

“I’ve been volunteering for 19 years,” said Betty Thackston, a Chester resident and retired Ecoff Elementary School teacher. “I do it because I love it. There is so much love from this committee that goes to these children, families and elderly. This is the joy and meaning of Christmas — the love. It’s magic.”

The Chesterfield County Fairgrounds warehouse was temporarily transformed into a cheerful wonderland of joy Friday.
Toys, bikes, clothes and books filled the huge building.

“We had a mother in tears when she saw this,” volunteer Debbie Koller said. “I’m here because I was raised in a family that was volunteer-oriented. It’s a way of giving back.”

“This is neighbors helping neighbors. It’s how you strengthen your community,” 2018 Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother Bonnie Inge Bell said. “This is important to me for a couple of reasons. I was hired by Lucy Corr as a new social worker. She founded the Christmas program in 1975, so the carrying on of her legacy has been wonderful. We need to care about our children. They are our future.”

Many families were sponsored by groups, businesses or individuals. The others will be able to “shop” for their gifts that were donated or purchased through fundraisers such as the July Jingle Run at Pocahontas State Park and the annual Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother Auction, which raised the bulk of the funds to purchase gifts for families.

Chesterfield County Sheriff Karl Leonard and the Sheriff’s Office Christmas Mother Coordinator Christie Nord were pleased to attend the open house.
“This brings hope to the families,” Nord said. “The sheriff’s department sponsored two families. We were also able to get bikes and a Christmas tree.

Law enforcement doesn’t make a lot of money, but we put out a challenge this year and everyone gave. Our department loves doing this for the community.”

“We like to give at every opportunity,” Leonard said.

The department uses jail inmates to help lift, carry and organize the presents. “The inmates love doing this every year,” he said.

“It gives the inmates a chance to make a difference,” Nord said.

“So many people call in and want to sponsor a family. They’ll buy all of the gifts for that family and Christmas dinner or gift cards. What’s impressive is most of our sponsors give more even beyond that,” Thackston said.

“We want to help people realize, they’re not forgotten,” volunteer Kathy Fox said.
For more information, go online at cchchristmasmother.com or call (804) 748-1183.