Jefferson Award Winner: Vanessa Short

BARBOUR COUNTY, W. Va. The Jefferson Award, presented by Antero Resources, highlights individuals who've spent countless hours dedicating their time to the community and others. January’s winner, Vanessa Short, exemplifies just that.

Short is the perfect example of a selfless role model for the community.

She started a charity called “Boxes with a Purpose,” a program dedicated to providing children in foster care with “Christmas Eve fun boxes,” that include pajamas, hot chocolate, popcorn and holiday movies.

This program allows children in foster care to experience the joys of the holiday season and lets them know that they are not alone.

"It makes us feel good to know that it's made important to them, that they are special, they are worthy, and that people are thinking about them...that they are not journeying through this alone," says Vanessa of her experience.

The program also provides support to the heroes who are foster parents and raises awareness about foster care.

In the beginning, Short partnered with just three agencies. But thanks to the overwhelming generosity of fellow West Virginians, the program has grown to provide holiday goodies for children in all 55 counties in the state.

Looking back on the last holiday season, Short said "What feels good to me, is how I feel like I'm in a Hallmark Movie, because of how all of my fellow citizens in West Virginia united together to make it happen, and that feels good to me."

Her kindness and giving heart has been a blessing to the community, and now, the whole state.

The 2019 "Boxes with a Purpose" campaign will officially begin in February. If you would like more information, you can head over to to get involved.