Busta’s Person of the Week: ‘Boss Lady’ celebrates 23 years of making hundreds of children’s Christmas wishes come true

Busta’s Person of the Week: ‘Boss Lady’ celebrates 23 years of making hundreds of children’s Christmas wishes come true
December 21
10:40 2022

By Busta Brown

Twenty-three years ago, during the Christmas holiday season, Anita Dean Arnette received a phone call from one of her thousands of listeners. “During the holidays a young lady called me and said she was turned down for help from several organizations. Then I received even more calls for help. I said to myself, I’m giving my money to all of these organizations and I don’t know who’s getting these toys or who’s getting help.” 

Arnette opened her mic, and then opened her heart and appealed to her huge fan base in the Triad area. “I decided I’m going to start my own toy drive, because I’ll know who’s getting those toys. And now I see their faces. I believe that love isn’t love until you give it away,” she said. 

You can come and get your love Monday through Friday from 12 -3 p.m. and on Sundays from 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. on 103.5 and 96.3, The Light Gospel Radio Station. She’s been at The Light for 23 years and a radio personality for nearly 40 years. “Radio has never been a job to me. I just enjoy encouraging people. So many people are either going into or coming out of a storm. If I can encourage one person to have hope, that as God did for me all these years, He’ll do it for them. All we have to do is trust Him,” shared Anita Dean Arnette.

I asked her what has been the magic that has kept her toy drive successful for 23 years. “My love for the community and the love that’s given back. To see the beautiful smiles on the faces of these kids, their parents and grandparents that come to the radio station. They know that with my toy drive, they’re going to have a wonderful Christmas.” 

Her fans, or as we like to call them our radio family, know Anita Dean Arnette as “The Boss Lady of Gospel Radio.” Like James Brown said on the “Black Caesar” movie soundtrack in 1975, “It pays the cost to be the Boss.” There’s a lot of hard work that goes into  23 years of successful toy drives. The radio station receives lots of letters and she reads each one. 

Secondly, The Boss Lady has to make an appeal for the community to donate the toys and other items requested. “We don’t turn anyone away. We answer every single letter. Once we get all the letters and all the toys, we have to separate every toy for boys and girls ages one through ten. Then we have to categorize the toys and items, and that takes hours and hours,” said the legendary radio host. 

By the side of every phenomenal woman there’s a phenomenal man. While she’s on the radio show inspiring her listening audience, her husband of ten years, Reverend Jerry Arnette, is at home categorizing the toys. Then a crew comes to the radio station in the evening “ … and in that one night we bag everything that’s going to the children and families. We put their names and ages on the bags and then I call every person that sent in a letter to give them a time to come in to get their toys. The toy drive is on December 20.” 

So, on the 19th Boss Lady and her crew will be at the radio station until nearly midnight bagging and labeling toys. “It’s a ton of work, but it’s well worth it,” she said.

This year she had two families who lost everything due to fires. “Sometimes we don’t have everything that’s requested, but that’s when I get calls from the community and they step up to make sure no one is left out. We have grandparents that are sick and their kids are incarcerated or out in the streets. These grandparents are on a fixed income, Busta. They can’t afford to buy toys because everything they have goes to medication and food. I had one young lady whose sister died and she had to take care of the children. Between the sister and her children, it was a family of six. So, that’s why this toy drive is so important. I’m very passionate about seniors and my babies. I call all the children my babies.” 

She added, “People are so grateful! Every time I put a toy in that bag, I thank God. Some people ask me, when are you going to stop the toy drive and I tell them whenever God says stop.” 

My phenomenal Person of the Week is The Boss Lady, Anita Dean Arnette. For more information and to donate, call 336-480-2039 or drop off a new and unused toy at 4405 Providence Lane, Suite D, in Winston-Salem. 


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