Bedford Community Christmas Station began as an idea when a group of local citizens gathered together on March 8, 2006 to discuss a new way to provide assistance to low-income families at Christmas. The people in attendance represented local agencies, organizations, churches, and businesses, many of which had provided Christmas assistance programs in the past. At the meeting on March 8, it was agreed that it would be easier to reach the families in need, without duplicating efforts, if we combined our energies and resources into one program in one location.
As we looked for the best way to serve families during the Holidays, we followed the example set my Montgomery County Christmas Store in Christiansburg, Virginia. Patsy Dillon-Long with Montgomery County Christmas Store met with local citizens in Bedford to share information about the program in Christiansburg, which was established in 1982. Citizens from Bedford then made a trip to Christiansburg to tour Montgomery County Christmas Store and meet with several officers and committee directors. Those who participated in the trip came back to Bedford energized and ready to establish a similar program here.
Setting up a county-wide Christmas assistance program required the involvement of the entire community A Board of Directors was formed and officers were elected. By-laws were written and forms were designed. The County of Bedford offered space for the Christmas Station at 206 Washington Street in Bedford. K & K signs installed a sign in the front window, and Bedford Baptist Church Sunday School Class paid for the sign. J. G. Overstreet, Esquire, submitted Articles of Incorporation to the State Corporation on behalf of the Christmas Station. Stan Bennett, CPA, completed the paperwork necessary for tax-exempt status with the IRS. Shop Rite and Peebles donated shelving. Chad Smith built a partition in the building with supplies donated by Taylor Brothers. Linda Zimmerman as well as Bill Mosley with Bedford Hardware donated additional store fixtures. And, OneSource Graphics set up this web site!
Dozens of individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and churches made donations that first year to help get Bedford Community Christmas Station up and running. It was a tremendous leap of faith to schedule 262 families to choose gift items for their family members – we believed that the toys, clothes, household items and food would be there when we opened our doors to serve families in December 2006. It was also wonderful to see the hundreds of volunteers that came forward to set up the Christmas Station and serve the families in a dignified and respectful manner.
The Christmas Station has grown slowly but steadily since 2006. The Board of Directors recognizes that this growth would not be possible without the support of the entire community of Bedford. We are very grateful to everyone who has made it possible to serve more than 4,000 low-income individuals over the past four years.
It is the goal of the Christmas Station to ensure that every eligible family in Bedford will enjoy a joyful, family-centered Christmas. With your continued support, that dream will become a reality. Thank you for being part of that mission!
Karen Hughes, Board President