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Giving Back: Old Skool Bar donates Thanksgiving turkeys, plans Christmas toy drive

LAPLACE — When Erica White sets a goal, she follows through.

Less than four weeks after opening Old Skool Bar in LaPlace, White fulfilled her promise to bless 10 St. John the Baptist Parish families with Thanksgiving meals last week in Reserve.

It was step one of a drive to become an involved business owner, and plans for Christmas outreach are already in the works.

With help from the St. John the Baptist Parish Office of Fire Services, White delivered baskets packed with full-size turkeys, stovetop stuffing, peas, remoulade sauce and candy yams to families devastated by house fires.

The best part, according to White, was greeting the families and seeing appreciation reflected in their smiles.

New business owner Erica White displays T-shirts from her business that are for sale. Proceeds from the sales are going to be used to help fund a toy drive.

“They said it helped their morale to have a nice Thanksgiving meal,” White said. “They were very grateful, and it’s just a blessing to be a blessing. I have an opportunity to be in the public eye as a business owner and help others while growing my business. I’m in a position now to help those who are unfortunate.”

Fire Services representative Travis Ettie helped distribute the food, and Health & Human Services director Rhonda Lemons was the one to suggest White donate to fire victims overlooked in holiday meal drives.

“I thought that was a great idea,” White said. “I called to get information for the Council on Aging, and I was informed they received gift cards for turkeys. I told her, I don’t mind who receives it, as long as it helps somebody. I just want to give back.”

The Thanksgiving baskets were the product of White’s personal funds and donations from seven close friends.

Setting her sights on a Christmas toy drive, White hopes to see participation from Old Skool Bar customers.

Old Skool Bar is open to adults age 30 and up from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day except Wednesday at 701 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace.

During opening hours, customers can receive $2 off a drink for unwrapped toys, gift cards or monetary donations dropped off by Dec. 18.

White is partnering with a St. John Parish fire station to distribute toys to local children on Dec. 19. An exact time and location is to be announced.

Community members can also get involved by purchasing black and gold Old Skool Bar shirts, customized for men and women.

T-shirts are $15 for sizes small to XL and $17 for sizes 2X and up. Proceeds from T-shirt sales and monetary donations will be used to purchase additional toys, White said.

Chantel Nicholas was among those who aided White in the Thanksgiving giveaway, and she plans to donate to the Christmas toy drive.

She said it’s important for St. John Parish to rally behind parents who are down on their luck financially so every child can experience the magic of Christmas.

Nicholas met White two years ago through a church service at Destiny Christian Center in LaPlace.

“She has a really big heart,” Nicholas said. “She’s always brainstorming ways she can help the community.”

For more information, visit Old Skool Bar in LaPlace or on Facebook.