Concordia Christmas Fund distributes food, toys to local residents in need

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 26, 2003

FERRIDAY &045; It is better to give than to receive, or so the saying goes. In Ferriday Tuesday, just two days before Christmas, many people were practicing that act of giving as part of the Concordia Christmas Charity Fund.

Through donations and many volunteer hours, the residents of Concordia Parish in need this Christmas season received food and toys for their little ones at home.

Hands stuffed bags with nonperishable food items, lining the tables at the Ferriday High School cafeteria Tuesday morning. From there, the smaller hands of Boy Scouts lifted the estimated 15- to 20-pound bags to another table to add a ham and then took the bags to cars. And that was just one part of the operation.

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Across the cafeteria, volunteers from the community service club, Ferriday Junior High School, the charity fund committee and the Ferriday High School FBLA checked people in as they arrived to pick up their gifts. Each child eight and younger received a toy and those 9 to 12 years old got Wal-Mart gift certificates.

Darylana Cain, 18, an FBLA member, helped make the bags Monday and came back to help Tuesday, fetching toys to give to the families. &uot;I have to run around like an elf,&uot; Cain said. &uot;I want to make all the little kids smile on Christmas morning, like Santa Claus.&uot;

The sheriff’s office brought 50 bicycles to the high school to be distributed to families picking up toys and food Tuesday.

Parish residents could pick up applications at all three Ferriday banks &045; Concordia Bank and Trust, Delta Bank and Tensas State Bank &045; and at churches and city halls in the parish. Then families with the least amount of per person income per month were given priority.

The committee chose as many families &uot;as we had money to help,&uot; said Dorothy Parker, co-chairman.

In all, through the 319 applications, the fund was able to aid 265 families this year, the most the fund has ever helped.

Parker said the money kept coming in over the past few days so the fund was able to help more and more people this holiday season, even calling them as late as yesterday to tell them to come pick up their bags of food.

&uot;As a matter of fact, this morning I went to the store to get an additional 10 hams,&uot; Parker said.

And the thank yous and the smiles from the recipients were enough for this group of volunteers.

&uot;We try to make a merrier Christmas,&uot; said volunteer Genna Hopkins.

And for many, they did.

&uot;It’s so nice,&uot; Cynthia Jackson said as she picked up her toys and food bag and even a new bike for her 4-year-old, Brittany. &uot;It’s just a good blessing.&uot;