Distributing joy

Published 12:09 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Members of the Cumberland County Christmas Mother have been hard at work giving families in need toys, clothings and other gifts during the holiday season.

Their distribution center Friday proved just that.

The center, located at the Cumberland County Community Center, contains rows of clothing divided by size, shelves of presents ranging from storybooks, toy cars, homemade donut making kits, dolls, jewelry and stuffed animals and a team of volunteers working to help make Christmas happen for area families.

Email newsletter signup

The impact of the organization was evident on those who chose presents for their children.

Babette Boatwright, who chose presents for her children Friday, said the Cumberland County Christmas Mother has helped her family through a difficult time.

“I was slightly worried about the holidays,” Boatwright said. “This is an awesome thing.”

Christmas Mother Volunteers Barbara Rivera and Ann Ligon noted that they received more than 100 Christmas stockings made by members of Cumberland Presbyterian Church that they will give to kids 2-8 years old. They said the church has donated the stockings for several years.

Barbara Daniel, a Cumberland County Christmas Mother organizer and committee member, said the process of gathering the donations and matching the gifts with the applications from families is a nearly year-long process.

She said the organization also donates clothing and supplies to families who have lost possessions from house fires.

“Believe me, it takes a lot of work,” Daniel said about the distributions and the work from volunteers. “It doesn’t happen overnight.”

Cumberland County Christmas Mother Barry Vassar said Monday that the number of donations from community members and area organizations have increased, and noted he was picking up additional gifts that day. He said presents may be saved for next year.

Among the gifts donated have been bicycles from the Richmond Area Bicycle Association, Vassar said.

“What came in, both for gifts and for finances, has exceeded past the previous three years,” Vassar said.

He said while the numbers of applicants requesting assistance has been lower than in past years, he said the number of volunteers have gone up.

“We didn’t run short of volunteers. We had a lot of new volunteers this year,” Vassar said. “All of the angels that we put out for individual children, all of those were all met. Everybody got served who applied.”

According to a release from the Cumberland Christmas Mother program, the organization expects to serve approximately 137 families encompassing 267 children and youth during the holiday season.

Vassar said the organization’s aim is to make sure each child in the community has a Christmas experience, no matter their financial circumstances.

“Our goal is to make sure every child out there has some form of Christmas,” Vassar said.