Madison County Grandma Seeks Christmas Help

Bessie Warren is shown here with her 17-year-old grandson Laidarieus Gillyard

By Kyle-Kyson Clark
Outlook Writer

There’s no question about what’s important to Bessie Warren. Warren’s life revolves around caring and raising her two grandchildren. Warren, a Madison County 54-year-old, has accepted the role of mother and father for her two grands.

Her daughter died 10 years ago. And, the father of Warren’s grandchildren died years after the children’s mother. But neither their deaths nor Warren’s two heart attacks or carrying a heavy load on her shoulders prevents Warren from taking it all in stride.

“I never had a Christmas tree or get Christmas gifts,” said Warren about getting prepared for Christmas. “So it’s hard for me to really get into the Christmas spirit. But with the kids around now, I try to make it happen for them.”

After years of persuading, her grandchildren’s doctors were able to convince Warren to participate in the Christmas Connection program this year. The Christmas Connection program tries to fulfill the wishes and some of the basic needs of hundreds of families in need in Northwest Florida each holiday season. The program covers five counties: Leon, Gadsden, Jefferson, Madison and Wakulla counties where it seeks to provide toys for children, food and a little joy to their homes.
Warren has been struggling just trying to make the ends meet in her household. Several times she has been discouraged because she is not able to provide to her grandchildren, as she wants to. Despite her several hospital visits, she has still not stopped from providing for her grand kids.

“I’ve been so busy,” she said. “I haven’t had the time to grieve for the lost of my daughter and my grandchildren’s mother.

From being homeless to ministering in the church, Warren is beginning to see the brighter things in life.

“I like to pray, and I got to pray,” she said.

She likes to work with people who need help and her 17-year-old grandson Laidarieus Gillyard wants to help his grandmother too.

“My goal is to make my grandmother proud,” Laidarieus said.

To assist Bessie Warren or other families in need during the Christmas Season, contact the Christmas Connection at: (850) 574-3282 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Or, feel free to access the Christmas Connection at