Lynchburg residents are known for their compassion and concern for each other.
A grassroots program, unofficially called the “Spreading Christmas Cheer” project, is in its third year. Meals and gifts are delivered to folks in need the Sunday before Christmas. Laura Swinford oversees it. She is director of the Friends of Animals shelter.
“We collect gifts and food at the Friends of Animals house, but the shelter isn’t directly involved, just used as a drop-off place,” she said. “We did six the first, 10 the second, and 12 this year. Members of the community pitch in and come together to make full course homemade meals and we add in a few gifts. We try and find people are don’t get benefits from other programs, the ones that fall through the cracks and the ones that aren’t maybe necessarily ‘needy or poor’ but that maybe just need to know someone cares about them and is thinking about them.”
She put out a notice on her Facebook page three years ago about a couple of friends pitching in to help a few families and it took off.
“It’s a really amazing thing to do and be a part of,” Swinford said. “I get more out of it than the people receiving. It really is something special. My Facebook friends are mostly who brings the stuff, some people I don’t know personally but they are all so happy to be giving.”