Christmas charity fund makes urgent plea for help

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 5, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – Given the loss of one of its biggest funding sources, the Concordia Christmas Charity Fund’s call for donations is especially urgent this year.

&uot;Louisiana Hydroelectric was one of our biggest donors last year, but they just won’t be able to contribute this year,&uot; said the Rev. David Porter, who is serving as a co-chairman of the fund.

The fund’s goal for this year is $10,000, but only $6,000 has been raised so far. Donations can be made at any Concordia Parish branch of Concordia Bank & Trust, Louisiana Central Bank and Tensas State Bank.

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Last year, the fund raised $12,500, and that was enough to distribute toys and groceries to more than 200 families. Even so, the fund fell about $2,000 short last year and had to turn 60 applicants away.

&uot;After working with the community for several years, I’ve seen firsthand that there are quite a few people in need here,&uot; said the Rev. Freddie Schiele, a fund co-chairman. &uot;And of course, the more donations we get the more people we can help.&uot;

Volunteers will assemble gift packages starting at 1 p.m. on Dec. 21 at Ferriday High School. Toys and a bag of groceries will be distributed to each family from 9 a.m. until about 11 a.m. the following day at the school.

The fund is also seeking volunteers who are willing to give their time to the cause, Porter said.

&uot;We actually need more volunteers to put (the package) together than to distribute them,&uot; Porter said. &uot;Anyone who wants to volunteer, we’ll be glad to have them.&uot;

And volunteering with the fund is something Schiele highly recommends. According to him, volunteers get just as many blessings from the event as recipients do.

&uot;When you give the toys to the children, they really appreciate it — you can see it in their eyes,&uot;&160;Schiele said.

&uot;And of course, the groceries come in handy. By the time they got the groceries, a lot of parents wouldn’t have the money to get their children toys, too.&uot;

The program is open each year to low-income families, with applications for assistance distributed mostly through Concordia Parish’s churches and schools.

The Charity Fund board will meet Dec. 15 to tally donations and decide how many packages it can distribute, said fund Co-Chairman Chris Vaughan.

But the fund accepts donations year-round, and money contributed after that date will be put toward next year’s goal.