Parish plays Santa for St. John’s children

Published 12:09 am Saturday, December 24, 2016

LAPLACE — More than 500 toys were handed out to St. John the Baptist Parish children Monday night at the annual Evening of Song event sponsored by Blessed to Be a Blessing.

The event was held in partnership with the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District, the School District Parent/Teacher Organization, St. John Parish Government, St. John Parish Council, St. John Parish District Attorney’s Office, Marathon Petroleum and Cargill.

“It went very, very well,” said Eliza Eugene, president and founder of Blessed to Be a Blessing.

“There were lots of children, lots of families, a lot of emotions. We had a lot of volunteers and more than enough help.”

The toy giveaway was held in conjunction with the annual Evening of Song at the St. John Community Center, during which five choirs and bands from local schools performed carols throughout the evening.

Each child received candy canes provided by the St. John Parish School Board and the St. John Sheriff’s Office. Santa and his elves were on hand for photos, as well.

This was the 11th year for the toy giveaway sponsored by Eugene’s non-profit organization with the help of local government and sponsors.

The toys are collected throughout the parish at schools and businesses.

Last year 356 toys were distributed.

Even though the number increased to 500 this year, Eugene said there were some toys left over. Those were sent to other toy giveaways, including one being held today at the St. John the Baptist Parish Courthouse in Edgard.