The Bath County Christmas Mother Shop wraps up for another year


Things are wrapping up in the Christmas Mother Shop at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Hot Springs.  Distribution day for gifts and food is Monday, December 15, and volunteers are busy taking care of final details.

Linda Criser is the 2014 Bath County Christmas Mother.

“Things are going really well,” says Criser.  “Our donations are coming in.  We’re just waiting now for people that have adopted families and individuals to bring their gifts back.   We have, I think, just about everybody adopted.   We received a lot of coats yesterday from Parks and Recreation in Fairfax, Virginia and we received our Toys for Tots toys.  And Joey Altizer from the high school brought us down all kinds of little handmade wooden things yesterday.  So I think, all in all, we’re coming along very nicely.  I’ve had some really good committee people here.   And it’s just been a worthwhile experience for me. I just appreciate the generosity and the giving spirit of all the people in Bath County.  I’ve just been amazed at the good will and their good words for the Christmas Mother Program this year.”

Karen McNally helps wrap gifts.  She has been volunteering at the Christmas Mother Shop for the last two years.

“It gives you a wonderful feeling inside to see that the community comes together and gives so much to the people,” says McNally.  “Everybody is so generous and it’s wonderful and the children will have a wonderful Christmas.  We’d like to thank Linda for being our Christmas Mother this year.  She’s done a wonderful job.  I think the Christmas Mother and her helpers work very, very hard and it’s really appreciated.”

Sandra Phillips has helped in the Christmas Mother Shop for six years now.  She coordinates the gift wrapping and some days she has eight to ten people helping.  Between wrapping and some shopping, she keeps volunteers busy for about two weeks.

“I get my wrappers lined up before the shop opens and everybody is so nice, they always want to come wrap,” says Phillips.   “We send the wrappers out to shop too.  And then we have other people that volunteer to shop and when they bring their items back in then we wrap them. And I would like to thank the restaurants that have provided us our meals every day.  It’s been so nice.”

The Bath County Christmas Mother Program is serving more than 130 families this year.   The Christmas Mother Shop will be closed on Thursday and Friday, the 11th and 12th, for final organizational duties.   The program also helps applicants in January with fuel assistance, as funding allows.

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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