Bedford Community Christmas Station was blessed with another remarkable year in 2014! Some of my favorite memories include:
Our Volunteer Social at the Bedford Welcome Center on February 8th included lots of food, fun, and festive door prizes.
In March, we held a spaghetti dinner at Bedford Moose Lodge. Marilyn and Jackson Overstreet once again cooked the spaghetti noodles and sauce – always getting rave reviews! Also in March, we took advantage of our terrific location on Blue Ridge Avenue in Bedford and offered a sidewalk sale that featured lots of new and some gently used items. The weather was chilly but the turnout was heart-warming!
In April, we were able to offer our first-annual Easter Event. Families were able to choose Easter baskets and basket fillers. We also hosted a second spaghetti dinner, this time at Main Street United Methodist Church. We saw many of the same smiling faces at both spaghetti dinners – no doubt due to our amazing cooks! We also continued our newly-established tradition of holding a sidewalk sale on the first Saturday of each month. Due to amazing donations from an anonymous source, we had a terrific selection of merchandise to choose from!
As the weather warmed up in May, we held a side walk sale on the first Saturday and a HUGE yard sale on the last Saturday! We had so much fun, we decided to hold another sidewalk sale on the first Saturday in June!
In the heat of July we hosted our most ambitious fundraising event in our nine-year history - The Family Fun Fest! This inaugural event was made possible through the hard work and creativity of Susan Lawless Raper, who developed the ideas for most of the games. Lynn Posid lined up volunteers for the games and activities, while Danny Holdren arranged for a hay ride plus all of the entertainment on the pavilion “stage”. Josie Arney and the staff of Bedford Bank of the James provided the hot dogs; other food items were donated by Kroger, Frito Lay, and Little Debbie Snack Cakes. Bedford Moose Lodge generously let us use their fields, concession stand, pavilion and electricity. Although we all had a wonderful time, we agreed that this event will be held in May in 2015!
In August saw two more “firsts” – Back to School Shoes for Students AND School Supplies for Teachers. We were very pleased to see the community response to these services. We also started selling raffle tickets for three wonderful prizes: a hand-crafted wreath that was donated by Judi Noell, a beautiful necklace that was donated by Arthur’s Jewelry, and an exciting gift card to Bedford Social Club.
September brought some terrific changes to our food pantry! Bedford Rotary Club purchased and assembled twelve wonderful shelving units in the food pantry. Then the club members replaced the ceiling tiles AND they painted the walls a delightful shade of yellow. These remarkable changes created a space that is now functional and inviting. The upgrades came just in time – a generous grant from Food Lion made it possible to re-stock the pantry and offer emergency food boxes on an as-needed basis.
In October we held our final sidewalk sale of the year. Also, Patty Brown and Stephanie Coughlan volunteered to staff a Giveback Night at Ruby Tuesday. By handing out coupons and sharing information Bedford Community Christmas Station, Patty and Stephanie raised hundreds of dollars for our program.
Mr. Childers continued his generous support of our program, which made it possible for us to hire our first-ever staff member! Lori Moorman transitioned from Goods Committee Chairperson/ Boys Department Co-Chair/Decorator Extraordinaire to part-time staff person – while still carrying out her other roles!
We were moved, inspired and humbled by the 337 families that were accepted to choose gift items on December 11, 12, and 13. More than 110 volunteers worked tirelessly to provide an atmosphere of compassion and warmth to the individuals who came to the Christmas Station to choose children’s clothing, toys, teen gifts, household items, gifts for senior citizens and disabled adults, personal care items, and Christmas decorations. As always, each family received a box of food and a canned ham. It was a joy to be able to once again offer bikes to our families, courtesy of the generosity and efforts of James Wade.
In 2015 we will mark our 10th(!!!!!) year of serving low-income households in Bedford. As we move toward this remarkable milestone, we are reminded that Bedford Community Christmas Station is possible through the Lord’s blessing and the incredible generosity of our wonderful donors and volunteers. Thank you for your support!
Wishing you blessings in 2015,
Karen Hughes, Board President
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