Founder and Past-President

A Message from the Founder and Past President (2006-2020)
Karen Hughes

In 2006, I met with a group of Bedford citizens to talk about creating a new Christmas assistance program that would provide clothing, toys, household items, and food to low-income households in Bedford in a respectful and dignified manner.  The result was Bedford Community Christmas Station, Inc.  We were truly blessed by the community as people came forward with time, energy, funds, and merchandise donations to make it possible to serve 262 families that year.

Fourteen years later, it is humbling and amazing to realize the more than 4,000 families have received Christmas assistance through the Christmas Station.  Beginning in 2013 when we moved into our current home, many more families have also been provided with Easter Eggstra Goodies, Shoes for Students, and food boxes through our year-round food pantry.

My Christmas Station journey has given me the opportunity to meet some incredible people, make some dear friends, watch some amazing volunteers in action, witness the marvel of miracles in action, learn a great deal, and gather memories that I will carry with me forever.  My work with the Christmas Station has been a source of many blessings for me.

Here are some of my favorite memories so far:

August 2006: I knew that we had to have 501c3 status in order to apply for a grant. Our application for 501c3 status had been lost by the IRS, and our request for an expedited review was denied. I said a prayer acknowledging that it was out of my hands. THAT DAY, I received a letter from the IRS notifying us that Bedford Community Christmas Station, Inc. had been approved for 501c3 status!

December 2008: A Board member suggested that we offer workshops to the clients that had been accepted for Christmas assistance. Community members jumped at the opportunity to present workshops on topics such as GED, personal finance, child safety, child nutrition, parenting tips, diabetes, dental health, stress management, etc. All 140 workshop slots were filled that year! Evaluations for these workshops were extremely positive, and a new tradition was established.

May 2013: Mr. Earl Childers asked to meet with the Board to talk about how he could support our program. I was completely unprepared, surprised, and delighted when Mr. Childers offered to GIVE US a building that would serve as our permanent home! His generous support of the Christmas Station continues to bless the Christmas Station and the Bedford community to this day.

November 2015: A Board member’s young son heard the Board member say that the Christmas Station might not have enough funds to serve all eligible families. This conscientious youngster brought his savings to his mother and offered to give all of his money to the Christmas Station. His mother accepted ½ of his earnings and challenged members of her church to match his donation. Billy’s Little Drummer Boy Campaign was born, and it quickly spread to other churches as well as businesses and organizations.

April 2018: Bedford Community Christmas Station was blessed with the addition of two former clients onto our Board of Directors. It has been a highlight for me to see the many clients who have returned to us as volunteers, donors, and even Board members.

June 2020: Bedford Community Christmas Station added four new members and installed two new co-presidents. I look forward to seeing all the incredible accomplishments that will take place under the leadership of this gifted and dedicated group of compassionate volunteers!

I am very pleased to continue to volunteer with the Christmas Station as the Eligibility Committee Chair and the Infant Clothing Department Head. I can’t imagine a better, more worthwhile way to spend my “spare time”!

Karen Hughes