Local Groups Join Together to Make Christmas Special for Single Mom
By Alyssa Schnugg
Volunteers with the Oxford Community Market and East St. Peter Missionary Baptist Church are working together to make this Christmas extra special for one Oxford family.
Market Director Betsy Chapman said she met a single mother about a year and a half ago while working for the market’s outreach program. The woman has six children ranging from 7 to 16 years old.
Around Thanksgiving, the market was working with Pastor Rickey Scott with East St. Peter to partner on some outreach programs.
“I had had this idea of doing something special for this particular family – gifts, a tree, food — but I didn’t really have the time to organize it,” she said. “I reached out to Pastor Scott about doing a special Christmas for this family and asked if they’d be willing to help organize it.”
Not only did Scott agree to help but he told Chapman that he and the church were already thinking about helping the same family.
“They wanted to help the family with some home furnishings and fixing up their house before Christmas,” Chapman said. “It started out as donating some food, a tree and gifts and then turned into a bigger project.”
The two groups are providing the family with all things Christmas – a new Christmas tree, put up and decorated; gifts for the family; holiday dishes; Christmas Eve cocoa and cookies; and Christmas breakfast and dinner.
Last week, volunteers from the market and East St. Peter cleaned and painted walls and then decorated the living/dining room area with new couches, drapes and a new dining room set.
Other individuals and businesses also helped to make this special project possible.
Sneed’s ACE Hardware donated paint. Holding Hands Resale donated furniture, lamps and holiday dishes. Bekah Chapman and Matt Bay donated painting supplies. Pam Malone and Lynn Wilkins donated furnishings and home accessories. The Oil Shed and Heather Sneed gift-wrapped the ornaments.
“When we were finished, all of these items that had come from here and there, looked so perfect together,” she said.
Market customers donated decorations and ornaments and Visit Oxford donated tickets for the mother to bring her six kids ice skating while the volunteers transformed her home.
The Oxford-United Methodist Church is donating beds for the kids and numerous people have signed up to prepare food, make cookies and donate Christmas gifts for the family.
“There are still a few things we could use,” Chapman said.
Click here to view the sign-up sheet.
Scott said the mother was overwhelmed with gratitude when she saw her home after Phase 1 last week.
“When she came home, she just looked around and said “I don’t believe this is my house,’” Scott said. “We were able to put joy into someone’s heart and that means the world to us.”
In Phase 2, the groups will be working on fixing up the kitchen and bedrooms.
Chapman said she hopes others are inspired to reach out to neighbors to make their Christmas holiday a little brighter.
“It’s not hard to pull together just a few things that would make the holiday special for someone they know,” she said.
Scott said he hopes to continue working with the Community Market and other organizations on joint projects that benefit local residents.
“It was an outpouring of support from the community and volunteers from the market and the church,” Scott said. “Projects like this is something we want to continue because we’ve seen a little idea can wound up with a lot of support from the community.”