Volunteers pitch in for Charity Fund

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 21, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – More than 20 adults and youth gathered Thursday afternoon at Ferriday High School to bag groceries and toys to give to needy families, courtesy of the Concordia Christmas Charity Fund.

Using more than $15,000 in donations from area businesses and residents – a record amount, and $5,000 over this year’s goal – the fund was able to help 240 families this year.

Volunteers helping in Thursday’s effort included members of the Charity Fund, Ferriday High’s Beta and Key clubs, the Ferriday Women’s Service Club, Boy Scout Troop 15 and area churches.

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&uot;It’s a good way to help the unfortunate,&uot; said Sarah Denny, a Ferriday High junior who helped bag age-appropriate toys for each child. &uot;I’ve seen people receiving stuff each year – this is my fourth year – and it just makes you feel good.&uot;

&uot;It’s our way of helping the community,&uot; added fellow Ferriday High student Tarajh Stelly.

&uot;I’m just here to help out,&uot;&160;said De Rice, Ferriday postmaster and incoming Chamber of Commerce president. &uot;There’s such a need for this in this area.&uot;

By mid-afternoon, every part of the cafeteria was bustling with activity. In the corner, fund Co-Chairman David Porter and other volunteers were sorting applications by children’s ages and placing Wal-Mart gift cards in envelopes for children above age 8.

Other volunteers were busy double-bagging grocery bags. A 50-foot-long assembly line of workers stuffed the bags full of corn, peas, flour, hams, macaroni and cheese, rice, sugar, assorted canned goods and corn meal, in that order.

Still more volunteers carried the bags to the corner of the room while, on the other side of the cafeteria, youth matched applications with toys that were sorted by age for both boys and girls. It was a scene that one worker, in passing, described as &uot;organized chaos.&uot;

But in three hours – thanks to quick sorting of applications and an efficient assembly line – the bulk of the work was done and bags of groceries and toys were piled in the corners of the school’s cafeteria.

Recipients can pick up bags from 9 to 11 a.m. today at the cafeteria.

&uot;There’s a great need for this here,&uot; Porter said. &uot;There’s no other event like this, one that involves the entire parish.&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 fund accepts donations year-round, so additional donations will be put toward next year’s goal.