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Season of Wishes: Charity gives Christmas to needy

By Sabrina Robertson

The Natchez Democrat

FERRIDAY — Concordia Christmas Charity organizer Rena Pitts said a woman recently stopped her in the grocery store because she recognized Pitts’ eyes peering out from a COVID-19 mask.

The woman knew Pitts’ eyes from years past when she was passing out bags of groceries and toys in the cafeteria of Ferriday High School at Christmastime.

Pitts said the woman told her, “I have a job now but for three years I didn’t have a job. If it hadn’t been for you all, my children wouldn’t have had anything for Christmas.”

Pitts said such encounters are not uncommon.

“I’ve received several comments like that over the years,” Pitts said.

Since 1988, Concordia Christmas Charity has helped provide less fortunate people of Concordia Parish with a holiday meal and toys for their children when they might not have anything otherwise.

The charitable fund is not just for those with children, Pitts said.

“A lot of it is the food, too,” she said, adding senior citizens who struggle to eat have benefited from the bag of groceries that volunteers with Concordia Christmas Charity pass out just before the holidays.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pitts said instead of food this year, Concordia Christmas Charity will pass out food vouchers that can be spent at Ferriday Market to those in need beginning at 8 a.m. on Dec. 19 at the Ferriday High School cafeteria.

The toys will be spread out on tables so that families can pick up Christmas presents for their children. 

“Normally we have help from inmates and volunteers who help us bag the groceries and toys and hand them out,” Pitts said. “We’re not doing that this time to keep down the number of people.”

Pitts said those who benefit from the charity could fill out an application at the cafeteria before receiving their food voucher and gifts.

Pitts said more than 200 families submitted applications in 2019.

While the distribution only happens in December before Christmas, people can donate to Concordia Christmas Charity at Concordia or Delta banks at any time of the year, Pitts said.

“I’m thankful to the people who are generous enough to help those who really need it,” she said.

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