Giving back easy this holiday season

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2011



LAPLACE – Various local agencies across the River Parishes have begun taking applications and accepting donations for holiday gift drives to benefit the less fortunate in the region.

In St. John the Baptist Parish, the Sheriff’s Office is holding its annual Toys for Tots drive, which officially kicked off last month with the second annual Guns and Hoses flag football game between the St. John firemen and sheriff’s deputies. Proceeds from that event are being put toward the Sheriff’s Office drive. Toys for all ages can be dropped off at the St. John Sheriff’s Office administrative offices, 1801 W. Airline Highway, LaPlace, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The St. James Parish Department of Human Resources is taking applications from parish residents for its 2011 Toy and Coat Program. Parish spokesperson Melissa Wilkins said the parish is continuing a tradition of making sure low- to moderate-income families have a warm and happy holiday. She said the parish is collecting winter-appropriate attire and also small toys and stocking stuffers for children.

“Last year with the generosity of residents, local businesses and the United Way, the parish was able to help about 70 children within 42 families in the area,” said Parish President Dale Hymel. “It’s great when the citizens, industries and the parish can work together to benefit others. This year we hope to exceed that number.”

Wilkins said in-person applications are available through the Human Resources Department’s Special Programs office at 5153 Cantella St. in Convent. The office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays.

For online access, candidates or those wishing to nominate a family can download the application by logging onto the parish’s website,, and clicking on the “news room” tab. Downloaded applications must be sent back to the Department of Human Resources, Special Programs at P.O. Box 87 in Convent, LA 70723.

Applications will be accepted until Dec. 2, 2011. For more information, residents may visit the website or call 225-562-2354.

Meanwhile in St. Charles Parish, officials are teaming up with Children’s Hospital to offer some Christmas cheer to children with terminal illnesses and other diseases that will force them to be in the hospital during the holidays.

Spokesperson Renee Simpson said the parish is sponsoring a toy drive for patients ranging from birth to age 21. All toys may be dropped off to the Planning and Zoning Department, 14996 River Road in Hahnville, from now through Dec. 9. The toys will be delivered to the children the following week. Toy guidelines can be found at the parish’s website at

“Once the toys are collected and placed in Santa’s Workshop, each hospital department comes to ‘shop’ for toys for their patients,” Simpson said. “Every child admitted during the holiday season will receive a toy.”

For more information, contact Anedra Coleman at 985-783-5000.

The United Way of St. Charles is also hosting a toy & food drive to help families in need during the holidays. Trista Brazan, campaign and communications manager for United Way St. Charles, said last year’s drive generated more than 2,000 pounds of food and about 700 toys.

To support the toy and food drive, non-perishable food items or unopened toys may be brought to the United Way of St. Charles office, 13207 River Road in Luling, before Dec. 20. For more information regarding the event, visit or call 985-331-9063.