Levittown's Cheryl Campbell had a goal- to make sure every senior has a gift to open during the holiday season.
With that goal in mind, she created The Christmas Gala, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization consisting of many volunteers who share the mission to help local seniors in Bucks County and Burlington County.
Seniors who are low-income, receiving meals on wheels and have no family, are referred to the program through social workers and senior centers.
A United Way agency, The Christmas Tree Gala works to fill needs such as medications, beds, hearing aids, air conditioners, or even just basic necessities like blankets and toiletries. Many elderly in our community have no one to support them and need help with day to day activities.
Meet this inspirational 2015 Mover & Shaker Cheryl Campbell:
Bucks Happening: What motivates you every morning?
Cheryl Campbell: Waking up every day to a new day keeps me motivated. Many years ago, I lived through the fear of not being here today. Of having to deal with a health issue that could have taken my life to early. I prayed over and over again to please allow me to see my children graduate school. God was good and I more than made it past that day of my children graduating. I have been blessed with much more. Grandchildren, friends and most of all a life to be able to enjoy each and every one in my life, so every day is a new adventure for me to live with all of the blessings I have been given.
Bucks Happening: Who inspires you?
Cheryl Campbell: My mother keeps me going. She is gone now and has been for many years, but I still hear her reminding me to take care of me, to follow my passions and to keep going. She fought a long and hard battle against a disease that eventually took her life. She lost out on a long life but wanted nothing more than for me to be happy and to fight for everything I believe in. So, that is what I do, I strive to be a better me and do what makes me happy. Her memory keeps me going.
Bucks Happening:How did you decide to start The Christmas Gala?
Cheryl Campbell: I never set out to start my own business, it was just a small gesture that turned into greatness. All a group of us wanted to do was to make a difference during the holidays one year. We wanted to make a few senior citizens happy and raise a little money to give them gifts. Seven years later, it is now a non-profit that keeps growing and helping more of our seniors in Bucks County each year.
Bucks Happening:Which achievement are you most proud of?
Cheryl Campbell: Achievements are measured in different ways for different people. Sometimes you can be just as proud of one achievement as you are another yet they are totally different. My biggest personal achievements are my children and grandchildren. There is nothing better than being able to experience life not only through my children but through the young eyes of my grandchildren.
On a business level, my proudest day was the day I signed the lease to the office that would soon be the new home of The Christmas Gala. Never in all the years of running the organization did I ever think there would be such success let alone an office. Now today, I sit back and smile because I have more than i could ask for: an office, volunteers, community support, family support, and most importantly, grateful seniors.
Bucks Happening: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Cheryl Campbell: Finding myself has been the biggest challenge. For years, I was a mother, a wife, a friend and a grandmother. As time passed, my children and grandchildren grew up and changed, but I did not. I needed to figure out what makes me happy and what I wanted out of life. How can I change the world? Or, if not the world, how can I make a difference? Leave a legacy? It was then that a 92 year old stranger was placed into my path. At the time, I thought she needed me, but after a while, I realized it was really me who needed her. Being a care taker is a part of who I am, that is what defines me. I was at a standstill and had to find a way to help myself. My calling was and still is to help others. Now, instead of just helping my family, who are now on their own and need me less, my time and energy is devoted to those many often forget or overlook, or seniors.
Bucks Happening: What is the biggest accomplishment that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?
Cheryl Campbell: Over the next five years I would like to continue growing this company to be more well known. I would like to be able to give 100% of my time and energy to bettering it. I currently work a full time job, run a household and oversee this comoany. In five years, I would like to be able to getto the point where I can hire help so operations can run smoothly without me running every aspect.
Bucks Happening: Where’s your favorite place to go in Bucks County?
Cheryl Campbell: Any place where friends and family gather.
Bucks Happening: If you could go back in time and talk to yourself ten years ago, what advice would you give?
Cheryl Campbell: Don’t wait so long to follow you dreams.
Bucks Happening:How do you think your friends and Co-workers would describe you?
Cheryl Campbell: This question was a very hard one to answer. How I perceive myself and others see me has always been hard for me to accept. I would have said bossy, strong willed, hard to please over baring, funny but . After reading my thoughts I decided I needed some help
So, I set out and asked what their thoughts were. These are the responses I received and have to say makes me feel proud.
- a good friend
- a go-getter
- Good listener
- Passionate about work
- Puts everyone before her self
- Energizer bunny
- Full of love for anyone who crosses her path
Bucks Happening: You are all of these things and more! Congratulations.