At a reception at Magnolia Grange last week, Johanna Beers was introduced as this year’s Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother.
Beers, who has been a member of the Christmas Mother committee for six years, has served as chairman of the program’s volunteer committee and the recorder for meetings. She also works with the committee’s Gift Tree program.
“For a few years I used to sponsor a family,” she said. “Then, one year I was asked to come in and volunteer and once I did that I was hooked.”
Beers is no stranger to volunteer work. Once a month, she helps prepare a meal for Freedom House for the homeless, Christmas Mother Committee Member Carolyn Thompson said as she introduced Beers last week. She is a former tutor at the READ Center for adult literacy and a former mentor at Chalkley Elementary School.
The Christmas Mother program provides local children and senior residents with gifts and food during the holiday season, according to information distributed at the reception. In 2009, the program helped 1,819 families consisting of 5,731 people.
Serving as this year’s Christmas Mother is an honor, Beers said.
“The Christmas Mother program is just a wonderful program that works all year long to buy toys and clothes,” she said. Being at the Christmas Center to see parents pick out toys and clothes for their children is a moving experience, she said.
“Oh my goodness, it’s just wonderful,” she said. “It’s really like shopping at a department store. They’re always so thankful when they leave.”
The program takes donations throughout the year, she said. It also has a page on Facebook, a popular social networking website, where people can find more information about the program and how they can help.
This year, about 500 new people applied for assistance during the four-day application period in September, she said. Christmas Mother Committee Member Sharon Robertson said the program had already received more than 1,300 applications this year.
Members of the community can help by sponsoring a family or senior resident, donating food, gifts or money, or volunteering time at the Christmas Center. For more information on how to help, call 748-1183 or 751-4657.
Program to host auction Nov. 13
The Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother will host an auction on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the Cultural Center of India in Chester. Tickets, which are $30 per person, will include beverages and heavy hors d’oeuvres. The program is accepting items for the auctions; people who would like to donate items or receive more information can call 748-1183 or 751-4657.