By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: Oct 26, 2017 | 6:11 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – As the holiday season approaches, the work of the Dinwiddie Christmas Sharing Foundation kicks into high gear as they work to provide for those less fortunate in the county for Christmas and last week, they continued their tradition of naming Christmas parents for the upcoming year.
At last week’s board of supervisors meeting, following their selection, 2016 Christmas Mother Anne Clay presented Sutherland couple Reverend Herbert Anderson and his wife Obena as the 2017 Christmas Parents for the Dinwiddie Christmas Sharing Foundation.
Obena, a native of Sutherland and graduate of Dinwiddie County Training Center, which predates Southside High School, and Herbert, who lived in Petersburg and graduated from Peabody High School, are both well-known in the community for their charitable efforts. The parents of three daughters and grandparents of six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, the Andersons have been in service to the community for decades, including over 20 years as members of the county food bank.
The Andersons served as pastor and first lady of Sharon Baptist Church for 42 years before retiring in December of 2014. They are both currently members of Rocky Branch Baptist Church in Sutherland.
In addition, Reverend Anderson serves as president of the Dinwiddie County Clergy Association, which is an interracial and interdenominational organization that meets twice monthly for Bible study and yearly sponsors a worship service where they take up a collection for a charity gift. Last year, the organization gifted that collection to the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office and money collected from this year’s service is being donated to the American Red Cross to aid with hurricane relief as the recovery continues from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
At last week’s board meeting, both Herbert and Obena were grateful for the opportunity to continue doing something they have been doing for years, serving their community.
“We are honored to have been selected to be parents of the Christmas Sharing Foundation this year,” Herbert Anderson said as his wife and fellow Christmas parent Obena stood smiling next to him. “We trust and pray we will do as well as our former Christmas Mother has done and that we will do something and be something to this foundation and hopefully to this county of Dinwiddie.”
“We truly like what we see going on at the Christmas Sharing Foundation,” Obena shared. “They are doing such a wonderful job and we are honored and happy to be apart of it.”
According to last year’s Christmas mother Anne Clay, in 2016, 223 children were gifted toys, books, puzzles, stocking stuffers, handmade hats, and family gift cards to Food Lion.
In addition to those gifts, Walmart Distribution Center, known for the philanthropic work in Dinwiddie during their decades in the county, gifted 81 bicycles to the foundation.
“We pride ourselves on providing a twinkle in each child’s eyes on Christmas Day,” Clay said. “That is so important to so many people who don’t have this wonderful organization to help them out on Christmas. I have only been with them for a year, but they work so hard on this.”
Having served the community for over 15 years, supervisors praised the organization and the new and former Christmas parents for their dedicated efforts to support the foundation and the people that are served by them on a yearly basis.
“When I was told the Andersons were selected, I couldn’t think of anyone better to serve,” Dinwiddie County Administrator Kevin Massengill said during last week’s meeting.
“When Christmas comes around and children’s eyes are wide with excitement thanks to our partners who take part in the foundation, like Walmart and donating 81 bikes, that’s a tremendous gift,” Supervisor Dr. Mark Moore remarked. “Thank you to the Andersons for stepping up and thank you to everyone who takes part in the Christmas Sharing Program.”
In years past, the volunteer organization has received valuable donations from The John Randolph Foundation and the Richmond Christmas Mother Fund to help the Dinwiddie Christmas Sharing Foundation achieve its mission of making Christmas a special time for children and families in need.
To learn more about the Dinwiddie Christmas Sharing Foundation, call 804-469-3167 or visit the county’s website at http://dinwiddieva.us.