Linda Criser is the 2014 Bath County Christmas Mother

In Bath County, the Christmas Mother Program is beginning it’s twenty second year of providing clothes, household items, food and fuel assistance during the holiday season to those who are in need.  The program touches many in Bath County.  Last year it served 140 families and 309 individuals, including residents in the local nursing home.

Linda Criser is the 2014 Bath County Christmas Mother.

“Well, I was surprised to get the call asking me to be Christmas Mother 2014,” says Criser.  “I am humbled and just very honored to be selected as the Christmas Mother.  I’m a little overwhelmed with everything starting up, but I’m anticipating when the Christmas Shop opens and everything comes together.   I know how good a person feels when they do something good for someone or they give of themselves and that’s why my theme this year is from Mother Teresa, ‘It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.’   And giving can be done by donating, adopting and giving of our time.”

The program depends on contributions from individuals, businesses and organizations in the community.  You can help by adopting an individual or a family and purchasing needed items for each person.  You can also make a monetary donation so that volunteers can do the shopping.

“The Christmas Mother Program is important because with the poor economy today, with food, fuel and clothing prices rising, there are people who are out of work and who have part time jobs,” says Criser.  “And there are those who can use a helping hand at Christmas, especially those families with children.  The seniors in the county also need some attention during this time to let them know that they are not forgotten.  With this program we can provide individuals with needed items, gifts for children to open Christmas morning, toiletries and useful items for seniors.”

And donations also go towards providing food baskets.  And if there are funds still available in January, the Christmas Mother Program also provides fuel assistance.

“I’ve basically been involved with the Christmas Mother Program since it was started,” says Criser.  “I have done adopting, donating, shopping, wrapping and organizing gifts.  I remember in the early days that sometimes we would go to St. Luke’s at night and wrap presents. Sometimes a girlfriend and I would make these excursions on weekends and shop for ten to twelve people and that was really hard, trying to keep the gifts organized.  And I’ve never done anything with the administrative part until this year.”

Volunteers will be needed to shop for gifts, wrap them and prepare food baskets.   The Christmas Mother Shop opens on December 1st at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Hot Springs.

For more information about the Bath County Christmas Mother Program, call Linda Criser at 540-679-9118.

Monetary donations can be mailed to:

Bath County Christmas Mother

PO Box 292

Hot Springs, VA 24445

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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