Giving back to the community is second nature for Hanover’s next Christmas Mother.
The campaign launched Oct. 30 at an annual tea in Doswell where the group announced Cathy Tillman, of Mechanicsville, as the new leader for 2013.
“If I do something, I’m going to do it 100 percent,” Tillman said.
Tillman works full-time as a senior business analyst at Service Partners and is president of the Clay Springs Ruritan Club, but she took the opportunity because of her passion to help others and “give back to the community.”
“That’s probably one of the greatest joys that I have,” Tillman said.
Ruritan clubs in Eastern and Western Hanover nominate the new leader of the program each year on an alternating basis. Last year, the group helped 761 families and spent more than $87,131 on gift cards, canned food, toys and supplies such as posters. They also packed 1,175 boxes of food. Each family gets at least one box of canned goods. Children receive toys and adults are given gift cards to Peebles for clothes.
Each year a new “mother” is chosen to head the campaign and to solicit monetary, food and clothing donations. As the group’s leader, she will be responsible for collecting all donations and meeting with various clubs and organizations as well as other community members. She will also attend events such as parades. Tillman said she’s looking forward to meeting and helping individuals in the area.
Doswell Ruritan member Franklin Jones, who manages the campaign’s finances, recalled a time when Tillman loaded boxes into the trucks late at night during the winter.
“I know she’ll do a good job,” Jones said at the gathering.
Tillman said her new duty would be an “extension” of what she already does in the community.
She often helps people through Slash Christian Church, where she is a member, or with her Ruritan club. For several years, Tillman said she was the head of community outreach, participating in numerous events such as food drives.
In the past, she has also helped out with Christmas Mothers, packing cans of food for distribution to Hanover families in need.
“I do the best I can to make a difference,” Tillman said.
Although previous Christmas Mothers have warned Tillman that the job will involve a lot of hard work and time, Tillman said she is not worried about it.
Her focus is on impacting someone’s life. She said the best part of participating in programs like Christmas Mothers is the feeling she gets while giving back to her community.
“When you do something and you see the sparkle in the child’s eye, or the smile on a parent’s face or get that hug from a senior citizen, that is a blessing in and of itself,” Tillman said.