Family’s Christmas merrier

Published 7:12 am Friday, December 24, 2010

Jeff Hemingway, left, with the Lambda Nu chapter of Omega Psi Phi, hands a gift bag to Antoinette Hicks of Franklin as chapter member Clyde Johnson looks on. The fraternal organization gave the Hicks family enough gifts for a more than merry Christmas. -- Hattie Francis | Tidewater News


FRANKLIN—A fraternal group has made a Franklin family’s Christmas a little merrier.

Lambda Nu chapter of Omega Psi Phi worked with the Franklin Department of Social Services to give numerous Christmas gifts to the family of Antoinette Hicks on Monday.

Chapter members Jeff Hemingway and Clyde Johnson presented Hicks and her four children with the gifts from the fraternity.

“This is a new initiative for us, and we’re going to try and make it an annual initiative with the Department of Social Services,” Hemingway said.

“It makes you feel good,” Hicks said. “It’s a blessing; it’s a blessing from God.”

She said her children were excited and happy while it was a huge relief for her.

“They’ll open them on Christmas day,” Hicks said. “I’m going to put them under the tree, and they’re going to open them Saturday.”

“Santa is a Que,” said Hicks’ son, Jermaiah, when asked if he was excited for Christmas.

The Department of Social Services handled Christmas donations slightly different this year.

Those who could be helped by the Salvation Army were sent there, while others were helped by Social Services.

Social worker Gloria Wiggins said her agency referred 72 applicants to the Salvation Army and had 58 returned.

“We wanted to make sure everybody got something so we spread it out,” said Franklin Social Services Director Beth Reavis.

“We always have people that are extremely generous,” Reavis said. “Last year somebody walked in the door and gave my social workers $1,000 to help families two days before Christmas.”

Wiggins said the request for assistance during Christmas is about the same as last year.

“There were more (donors) last year than this year, but we’ve gained eight new donors,” she said.

This year’s donors included Bronco Federal Credit Union, Sisters Serving Christ, United Rare Breed Club, Baker’s Home, Franklin Post Office (Union), LEVOC Family Services, Grey Fox Restaurant, Robert Hill Foundation, State Farm Insurance, Franklin Presbyterian Church, Belk department store, New Hope Church in Norfolk, Dollar General, Omega Psi Phi, Hunterdale Fire Department, Paul D. Camp Community College, St. Jude Catholic Church and Western Tidewater Regional Jail.

“People are very generous and always have been,” Reavis said. “That’s kind of a Franklin tradition. The community is always very generous at Christmas time.”

“It’s very hard for the people of the community to know who to help, and they rely on us to give them the name,” she continued.

“They were very great in finding the people for us,” Hemingway commented. “We’re going to try and push this as much as possible to get other organizations involved so that we can support more than one family.”