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Rewarded by helping those who are in need

Admittedly, the holiday season is not the favorite time of year for Oxford’s Deborah Bone. She has lost both her parents to cancer, first her father in 2003 and her mother three years ago. But she uses her grief to channel her energy into helping others through the many volunteer programs she participates in throughout the year, but especially around the holidays.

“My mother always told me to find somebody to help when you’re having one of your bad days,” Bone said. “I hold onto that. If I help others I get rewarded, and believe me, I’m more rewarded than they are. I was raised to do it and it makes me feel good but it honors her memory as well.”

Currently, Bone is volunteering with the Rebels for Christ outreach ministry to raise money for its mission trip to Haiti in May. The group has set up a gift-wrapping booth next door to Rack Room Shoes on Jackson Avenue. So far the organization has exceeded their goal of $1,000 by five or six hundred dollars, according to Bone.

“I won’t be going to Haiti, but I’m helping them to get there in May,” Bone said.

Rebels for Christ is an organization sponsored by Oxford Church of Christ. Bone works full-time for the church as the manager of the Rebels for Christ facility where she is also the dorm mom.

Working and being a member of Oxford Church of Christ has presented several opportunities for Bone to volunteer.

“I’ve volunteered for a long time,” Bone said. “You can choose to be active in a church and there are so many opportunities to serve.”

A graduate of Ole Miss, Bone has lived in Oxford for the last 15 years and said she has been volunteering in the community regularly since she arrived.

One organization she volunteers with that is very near to her is The Pantry where she is on the board and is also the treasurer.

“I’ve become more involved with The Pantry in the last three or four years and last year took more of a leadership role,” Bone said. She added that the month of November is her busiest time of the year at The Pantry.

Bone has also volunteered with Oxford Health and Rehab, adopting a couple of the residents to purchase Christmas gifts and food.

Her desire for community service was fostered through her mother, a former teacher who also taught Bible school in her church, gave blood regularly and found ways to serve her church.

“When there was a need, she stepped up,” Bone said. “With going to church, whether it’s doing a gift wrapping fundraiser or filling up a bag for Thanksgiving, there are just lots of community service opportunities and I think that’s true with most churches.”

On the anniversary of her mother’s death, Bone encourages others via social media to become bone marrow donors by swabbing the inside of their mouth with a q-tip and sending it in to the national bone marrow registry.

As long as she is capable, Bone says she will continue to give her time through volunteerism.

“It’s what I enjoy doing,” Bone said.