The Christmas Lady is in full swing preparing for her “no one is forgotten” mission during the holidays.
For the last 22 years, Dorothy Lee Johnston, better known as The Christmas Lady, has delivered gifts and necessities to area residents and veterans who are in nursing homes each Christmas.
“We have had Casey’s in Bonne Terre collecting for us for the whole month of October, plus they will collect for two weeks in December,” Johnston said. “We already have a lot of stuff confirmed and Horton-Wampler Funeral Home, along with Leadwood United Methodist Church has both donated so far.”
Johnston said Park Hills River Mart and Desloge Walmart have also donated. She added this all helped to purchase sweatpants and sweatshirts for the veterans.
“I have been busy and am very pleased to receive donations to help these folks,” Johnston said. “The Leadwood Methodist Church has been so dedicated for so many years and for them to help is neat. Dr. Oberle and Politte Ready Mix in Potosi have also donated.”
She said she was told of a clothing issue with some of the veteran residents and she has been working extra hard to be able to provide sweatpants, a sweatshirt and socks to each veteran this year.
“We are needing all the help we can get this year because there are so many who have no family support and they are in need of clothing at all the homes we service,” said Johnston. “I always appreciate all the help I can get.”
Johnston said she tells everyone to leave the tags on the clothes donated, otherwise she can’t accept it. She added she needs sweat jacket/pant sets for the ladies because they go outside and like the zipper on the front.
“We are always in need of deodorant, lap throws, body lotion and crew socks,” said Johnston. “Those are the items we are always in need of and we are doing more clothing than we have ever done before.”
Johnston said this has become such a large project that they not only are working it right now, but they have to work it all year long.
“We have to do it all year long because we can’t buy some of our products anytime but the middle of the summer,” said Johnston. “Also we buy items during the school sales and when Country Mart has a sale on the body lotions. There is a lot of these items we get throughout the year and we need year-round support. A lot of these items have to be bought in the middle of the year in order to get them at a reduced price.”
Johnston said they are in need of coloring books and all kinds of crew socks for men and women. She said they don’t have just the veterans home, there are vets in the other nursing homes as well.
“We get things that are needed the most and we are in the process of getting all of this right now,” said Johnston. “Any little bit helps. Last year was the first year I didn’t have to pay out of my pocket to get everything.”
Each year Johnston serves more than 1,000 nursing home residents who have no family support and all of the money raised stays in the community. She said Belgrade State Bank has been a blessing to her ministry.
“Belgrade State Bank will be using their van to help deliver the items again this year and they will be supplying calendars to hang in their rooms,” said Johnston. “Last year when they have helped in the past they had a box prepared with bags of personal items for each resident we served.”
Johnston said they even paid for the gas and had volunteers to help distribute the items. She said the only money that came out of her pocket last year was to buy lunch for who helped take the items to the nursing homes.
Anyone who would like to donate to the cause can contact Dorothy Lee Johnston at 573-358-3226 or check donations can be made out to “The Christmas Lady” and mailed to 8718 Mostiller Rd. Bonne Terre, MO 63628.