For many of us, part of our holiday tradition involves giving back to our communities. Margaret and Carol, residents of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia’s Bedford group homes, started a joint giving project that they hope will become a tradition.

Shortly before Christmas, they decided to use their own money to purchase items needed by two of their neighboring community organizations: the Bedford County Animal Shelter and Centra’s Bedford Hospice House.

How did they choose they organizations to benefit from their generosity? “I like people, and I like animals!” said Carol.

They made lists of items that each organization would need, and staff took them to shop at the Family Dollar store. They chose huge bags of dog and cat food, along with toys and treats, for the animals in the shelter. Once they learned about the services provided by the Hospice House, they thought about supplies that people would need if confined to a bed and selected tissues and books, as well as other household supplies.

Then it was time to make the deliveries to the grateful staff at the two organizations. “It felt really good inside,” Margaret said later. “Like how the Grinch’s heart grew!”

Both women have worked in the community for several years. Carol waits tables at Ruby Tuesday, having first learned the basics of working in a restaurant by cleaning and hosting. The best part of her job, she says, is serving people. Margaret works at Bedford Memorial Hospital three days a week, stocking snacks and drinks on different floors. She enjoys meeting the people and is currently working on learning sign language to be able to communicate with a patient she has met who is deaf.

“I am just really proud of both of them,” said Angela Quinn, supervisor of the group home where Margaret lives. “They didn’t care what they spent; that’s what touched my heart.”

“It was their money they worked hard for,” added Vicky Hurt, supervisor of the group home where Carol lives. “I definitely think there will be more donations in the future.”