Pastors: Helping with charity a blessing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 2, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. — What would Christmas morning be without toys underneath the tree? It is four Concordia Parish volunteers’ sincere wish that as few children as possible have to find out.

The Revs. Lyndle Bullard, Jonathan Beck, David Porter and Freddie Schiele, organizers of the Concordia Christmas Charity Fund, are working to raise at least $12,000. That will provide at least 200 needy families with toys and groceries at Christmas, with the lowest-income families served first.

Applications for assistance are being distributed by churches and schools, and donations to the fund can be made at Louisiana Central Bank or Concordia Bank branches. The gifts and groceries will be distributed at 10 a.m. Dec. 20 in Ferriday High School’s cafeteria.

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&uot;When I&160;started with the fund three years ago, it surprised me how many people need this, especially single mothers,&uot; said Schiele, pastor of Mercy Seat Baptist Church in Ferriday, who is co-chairman of the fund-raising drive with Bullard. As organizers of the fund, the pastors’ duties include soliciting donations from businesses, setting up committees to process applications and organizing distribution of toys and food.

Bullard, who is co-chairing the fund for the fourth year, admitted that when he was first asked to help, he turned down the position — but he is glad that he finally accepted.

&uot;Seeing the smiles and hearing laughs of children on distribution day is my reward,&uot;&160;said Bullard, pastor of Sevier Memorial United Methodist Church in Ferriday. &uot;They’re such kind people. It’s really a blessing.&uot;

&uot;What’s really special is seeing the look on a child’s face when you hand a toy to them,&uot;&160;said Porter, who pastors First Presbyterian Church of Ferriday.

Bullard quickly added that many volunteers, not just the four pastors, work to make the fund drive a success. Some include social services worker Mary Rabb, who checks applications, and Wanda Crane, who computerizes the information.

Others are the managers at Wal-Mart, who pick out the toys; Jenna Hopkins, who helps sort and tag the items; and Myra Price, who helps distribute the items. &uot;We couldn’t do it without them,&uot;&160;Bullard said.

Beck could not be reached for comment Thursday.