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Christmas Mother in need

The Cumberland Christmas Mother program is preparing for a busy holiday season and has announced a list of important dates and various donations that  are especially needed this year.

Barry Vassar

The current Cumberland Christmas “Mother,” Barry Vassar, said that the program has been working to help residents in need for upward of 20 years.

“Our goal is to supplement Christmas for folks in Cumberland County who are in need,” Vassar said. “Basically, any families that are eligible that are interested in receiving a supplement for Christmas, we approve and we do that.”

Applications for this year’s program are due by no later than Nov. 1 and the distribution of gifts will take place on Dec. 13 and 17, with specific times sent out to each applicant.

The “Lights at the Lake” celebration at Bear Creek Lake State Park will be held Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15, where community members can enjoy holiday decorations and light shows at the lake. All proceeds of the event will benefit the Christmas Mother program.

Additionally, there will be a pancake supper at the lake on Dec. 8 to benefit the program.

The program plans to serve seniors in the community with a senior luncheon to take place on Dec. 12 at 12 p.m. at Payne Memorial UMC, 50 Stoney Point Road, Cumberland.

The Cumberland Christmas Mother Program serves children ages 12 and under who are residents of Cumberland County, as well as senior citizens of the county.

According to Vassar, Christmas Mother is currently in need of games, especially board games and puzzles. They are also in need of jeans for both boys and girls of all sizes, and would greatly appreciate any assistance.

Vassar explained that it isn’t just the Christmas season in which the Christmas Mother works to help children in need. He stated that the program works hard throughout the year, helping children in foster care to receive school supplies and aiding families that have been affected by crises like house fires that can displace a family.

Vassar said that the Christmas Mother program works through the Cumberland County Department of Social Services. He explained that checks written to Christmas Mother are processed through Social Services so that residents can get a tax deduction on their donations.

“Usually we serve about 300 children, which is about 190-200 families. We do a lot with very little,” Vassar added.

“If you have been a recipient of the Cumberland Christmas Mother and find yourself in a different place this year, now would be the time to give back to the program that once helped you. At the end of the day, it’s all about helping the children. We want to make sure at the very least that every child that’s eligible has Christmas.”

Donations of gifts can be brought to the Cumberland Department of Social Services at 71 Community Center Dr. Cumberland, VA 23040. Financial donations can be made out to Cumberland Christmas Mother, P.O. Box 33 Cumberland, VA 23040.