° empty

Season of Wishes: Concordia Christmas Charity Fund continues giving

File photo / The Natchez Democrat — Genna Hopkins, left, and Peggy Crow sort and count toys last December at Ferriday High School in preparation for the Concordia Christmas Charity Fund toy and food giveaway.
File photo / The Natchez Democrat — Genna Hopkins, left, and Peggy Crow sort and count toys last December at Ferriday High School in preparation for the Concordia Christmas Charity Fund toy and food giveaway.

FERRIDAY — Christmas Day comes and children rush to open presents.

Later, families gather around a kitchen or dining room table to break bread and bond over a holiday meal.

But for some families, times are tight and presents and holiday food have been pushed aside for more pressing priorities.

The Concordia Christmas Charity Fund aims to make sure that’s not a reality too many families have to face. The program, which is funded solely through the donations of generous area residents and businesses, provides less-fortunate families with a bag of groceries and at least one toy for children.

This year marks the 25th annual drive for the fund, which was started in 1988 after an out-of-town scammer went to Ferriday claiming to raise funds for the needy, but then left town without distributing any of the cash. Though other organizations have run it in the past, this year the fund is being operated under the auspices of the Ferriday Rotary Club.

Donations to the fund can be made at the Vidalia and Ferriday branches of Concordia Bank, Delta Bank or Tensas Bank.

Fund Director Rena Pitts said Walmart employees volunteer their time to pick toys for each age group of children, for boys and girls, and Ater Warehouse picks up the toys and takes them to the Ferriday High School cafeteria to be distributed.

“Volunteers from Rivers Correctional Center — trusties — really help box the toys and the groceries, and then they help the people with getting to their vehicles,” Pitts said. “They really seem to enjoy helping.”

Pitts said 525 children received toys from the fund in 2012, and 288 families — 914 individuals in all — received a bag of groceries in 2012.

Distribution for the fund will be 8:30 a.m. Dec. 14 at the FHS cafeteria.

Applications for those who may need assistance from the Christmas fund can be picked up at any of the banks.

The fund needs money to complete its work and has no deadline for donations, Pitts said.

“The donations can come in even after the distribution date,” she said.

Pitts can be reached for more information at 318-757-2320.