Charity fund needs helping hands

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 4, 2009

NATCHEZ — The Ferriday Chamber of Commerce will be making a list and checking it twice as it prepares for its annual Concordia Christmas Charity Fund.

Through the fund, volunteers parish-wide are giving of their time and money to make the season bright for those from one to 92 as the chamber seeks to help out families who need a little help this Christmas.

The organization is currently accepting donations for its Christmas buying and welcomes volunteers who wish to help hand out presents and groceries.

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“The money comes from donations from the community whether in memory (of someone) or just in donations,” Director Rena Pitts said.

Pitts said volunteers can work in various groups sorting through age-appropriate toys provided by Walmart and preparing food baskets for families and elderly people in the area.

Pitts said the chamber researches all applicants.

“There are applications that are filled out and turned in, and they are screened to see if those applications are really from a family that needs help with toys for the children,” Pitts said.

After a memorable first year of operation, the program has spent approximately 20 years providing presents and groceries to the less-fortunate children, families and elderly people of Concordia Parish.

“The first year that it was done, someone came in that was going to do the fundraising, and when it came time to buy toys, they had left town with the money — that was in the 1980s I believe,” Pitts said.

Since that year, Pitts said the chamber has taken control of the program, and thousands of lives have been affected by the generosity and honesty of supporters and volunteers.

“Every penny that is contributed to the fund is spent on local people,” Pitts said. “Not one person is paid a salary. Every penny of it goes back into food and toys.”

To ensure the community sees how much is given to keep the fund going, a list of donors and the amount given is published in The Concordia Sentinel.

Donors have the option of being listed as anonymous. Pitts said monetary donations and personal time are the most efficient forms of contributing to the fund.

“People can make donations to any of the three banks at any location in Concordia Parish — Tensas State Bank, Delta Bank and Concordia Bank,” Pitts said.