‘Food For Families’ is a good cause. Don’t make me beg.

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Time is running out for you to help us out with our fifth annual “Food for Families” program, and I hope my personal plea today will give everyone in the area a little push to join with us as we try to help some needy families this Christmas season.

L’Observateur began the “Food for Families” program in 2004, the first year I took over as publisher at our local paper, and we have conducted the program every year—hurricanes or not.

It never mattered to me whether our newspapers were having a great year or not with our own business, I have known for the last 20 years that each Christmas season I would be looking forward to a little food program that I take part in to help others.

Isn’t that what Christmas should be all about?

I remember almost 20 years ago when I was the editor at the Slidell Sentry-News when my boss came to me, quite late that Christmas season, and suddenly told me that we needed to start a food program.

“Wow!” I remember thinking.

We only had a couple of weeks before Christmas, but thanks to the power of the press, we quickly started some stories in the paper and ended up getting enough donations of food or money from the public, that we were able to deliver 45 boxes of food that year to needy families.

That began something which has never changed for me, no matter that I switched papers almost five years ago and came to LaPlace.

In Slidell we called the program “Care & Share,” but when I started the program here, my wife came up with the name “Food for Families,” which I still really like to this day.

So here we are in 2008, the fifth year of our program in the River Region, and like I usually do about this time, I’m asking everyone to give us some help so we can have a really successful program. As usual, our requests for food are far past the donations that have come, so we really need some help.

The “Food for Families” program is a great thing since it is completely about giving to others. We use every penny that is donated—and I mean every penny—and use it for buying food that we give to needy families or individuals this Christmas season. And of course, if you bring us non-perishable food items, we will add that to everything we gather up, and distribute around the region.

The other thing I like about our program is that we personally deliver all the food to people ourselves. That’s right. We use our own L’Observateur employees and we box all the food up, then deliver it to people who have had their name nominated.

Once we start running the nomination announcement in the paper, it quickly reminds me why we need to always do this. Listen to just a few of the nomination forms we have gotten, and the short comments they gave us:

“Widower of recent spouse, needs help this Christmas.”

“I lost my home and I moved in with my parents. Please help me.”

“Two children, and mom has a hardship trying to take care of them.”

“She lost a lot in the storm and she is still helping others in the family. But she really needs some help if you can give it.”

I don’t have to see too many of those nomination comments and I know that what we are doing is a good thing. And when the delivery day comes for us, which will be Saturday, Dec. 20, it quickly confirms to me the good of what we are doing.

So if you haven’t helped us with our “Food for Families” program yet this year, I hope you will.

It’s really easy to play a part. All you have to do is bring some non-perishable food items down here to L’Observateur’s office at 116 Newspaper Drive, or better known to most people as just off Old Main Street.

Or you can mail us a check, made out to “Food for Families,” c/o L’Observateur, P.O. Box 1010, LaPlace, La., 70069.

As I said, we use every penny that is donated to buy food, and we have our own volunteers to do every bit of the sorting, boxing and delivering. Nope, no “administrative charges” here for this program—just helping people all around you.

Our deadline to accept donations is a little over a week away on Tuesday, Dec. 16, so please help us quickly. I know with all the holiday shopping and such, time slips by.

From all of us here at L’Observateur, thank you for helping others this Christmas season.

One winter morning listening to the radio during breakfast, a couple heard the announcer say, “We are going to have 8 to 10 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the even-numbered side of the street, so the snowplows can get through.”

So the good wife went out and moved her car. A week later while they are eating breakfast again, the radio announcer said, “We are expecting 10 to 12 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the odd-numbered side of the street, so the snowplows can get through.”

The good wife went out and moved her car again. The next week they are again having breakfast, when the radio announcer says, “We are expecting 12 to 14 inches of snow today. You must park….” Then the electric power went out. The good wife was very upset, and with a worried look on her face she said, “Honey, I don’t know what to do. Which side of the street do I need to park on so the snowplows can get through?”

With the love and understanding in his voice that all men who are married to blondes exhibit, the husband replied, “Why don’t you just leave it in the garage this time?”

Kevin Chiri is Publisher of L’Observateur and can be reached at (985) 652-9545 or at kchiri@bellsouth.net