Concordia Christmas Fund helping 162 families

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 20, 2008

FERRIDAY — Sometimes, when a charity doesn’t get to help as many people, it can be a good thing.

“I was just certain that with economy the way it is, the number of applications would be greater this year, but it wasn’t,” Concordia Christmas Charity Fund Director Rena Pitts said.

But regardless of the fact that there were fewer applications this year, the Christmas fund — which provides toys and food to children from low-income families in Concordia Parish — will help 162 families this year.

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In 2007, that number was 255.

The fund, which comes directly from donations made by parish residents, spent approximately $8,000 on toys and food for Christmas 2008, Pitts said.

Toys will be given to children through age 8, and children aged 9 to 12 will be given $20 gift cards.

Friday, volunteers prepared gift and food packages with almost machine-like actions at Ferriday High School, first placing flour and other dried goods in a food bag before moving it to the next table, where canned foods were placed in it. At a third table, boxed foods like macaroni and cheese were placed in the food packages.

Outside, Concordia Parish inmates unloaded toys from the back of a tractor-trailer.

Some of the food was bought, but Ridgecrest Elementary School and Huntington School donated some of it, Pitts said.

This was the first year that Ferridian Billy Rucker was involved with the charity.

“There is nothing like community spirit, coming together with Christmas giving,” Rucker said.

Thirteen-year-old Hobbs Brown was helping for the third year.

“I think it is nice that the little kids who are needy can get something for Christmas, at least,” Brown said.

Along with families with children, the charity fund prepared food packages for elderly residents at the Ferriday Place I and II apartments.

The toys and food will be distributed from 8 to 10 a.m. today.