AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Deborah Lovett is a retired teacher who started an Angel Tree program years ago in her school, to make sure no kids were left out on Christmas morning.

Friends say she never meets a stranger and she prays for everyone.

Vonetta Parham met Deborah when they worked at the same school.

“She has a very giving nature. We ended up being in the same classroom together and she kind of helped me to understand that it’s better to give than to receive, and so I began to do the same things.”

When she was an educator, Deborah facilitated an Angel Tree program through her school. Teachers helped identify children who would need gifts.

“The teachers were my biggest supporters. The teachers knew what those kids needed and they were there for them. And I just can’t take all the credit. I have to give it to the people who helped and the community.”

And credit, too, to the parents who raised her from the time she was a tiny child, to do for others.

“My parents always gave us what we needed, not what we wanted. My mama always said if you have something that someone else needed, give it to them. It’s more blessed to give than it is to receive.”

Deborah’s tremendous faith is her guiding light, and she sets an example for others in the way she loves and cares for her family. For Deborah, family includes more than her bloodline. Just ask Vonetta Parham, who nominated Deborah for the award.

“I lost my mom during that time, and she took me in. And we affectionately call her Ma and Grandma, and we invite her to everything and she stops by. It’s just a big family.”

Deborah imparts the same advice her parents instilled in her:

“Step out of your comfort zone. You might not have what they need, but just ask, ‘Do you need something?’ Any little thing will help. You’ll be surprised at the toy that a kid will smile at. And I appreciate all the little Dollar Stores that will put a box in their store for people to donate toys. And that’s just how I feel. Just help somebody, and God will return it back to you.”

Do you know someone who deserves the Giving Your Best award? Nominate them here.