LEC’s Christmas for the Kids reaches 21 families

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 2, 2021

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LAPLACE — The holiday spirit tugged on the heartstrings of the team at LaPlace Equipment Company, leading them to host the third annual Christmas for the Kids event for families facing poverty, domestic abuse or other challenges during the Christmas season.

General manager Trip Oubre said the need was especially great this year due to job loss, grief and other hardships imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. LaPlace Equipment Company and LEC Cares once again partnered with local companies and organizations to make the holiday a little brighter for families in need.

Last year, LEC adopted local families and went Christmas shopping to fulfill the wish lists of each child. Families were treated to a day of food and Christmas fun that included a visit with Santa Claus to unwrap presents.

This year, the event was held in a drive thru format in the interests of health and safety. Help from community partners helped LEC gift hot meals, Christmas baskets and gift cards to 21 families.

“COVID really threw us curve. Last year, we had about eight or nine families. This year, we’re doing many more families. With everything going on, we thought we could cut back a little bit per family to help more families,” Oubre said. “It was a no-brainer for us that we needed to do the Christmas event this year. This is one of the hardest years ever for families because of COVID, the layoffs and everything else they are dealing with right now.”

Each family received a hot lunch including hamburgers, hotdogs and jambalaya cooked by Reed Alexander. Families also received food baskets to make a traditional Christmas dinner. Gift cards were also distributed, allowing families to purchase what they need most.

Families were nominated by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. John Health and Human Services, the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. John United Way, the St. John Parish School Board, Harold Keller, the LaPlace branch of Business 2 Business, St. Rose Elementary, Norco Elementary, St. John Parish President Jaclyn Hotard’s Office, the St. John District Attorney’s Office and LaPlace Equipment Company team members.

Those who nominated recipients were among the many donors for this event.

Oubre said the most rewarding part of the Christmas for the Kids event is seeing wide-eyed excitement from children and the gratitude from parents.

“These are children who otherwise wouldn’t have a Christmas. Just to see their faces light up is so special,” Oubre said. “Also, you can see the parents really enjoy it. Many of the parents just start crying when they find out that their family has been selected. Hopefully next year we will get back to being able to spend time with the families.”

Located at 167 Jaubert Lane, LaPlace Equipment Co. was initially founded as a small service company dealing primarily with the paper mill industry. Founder James B. “Buck” Oubre Jr. realized it made more sense to rent equipment to contractors than to work against them.

Today, LaPlace Equipment Co. is a full-service rental and sales company providing equipment and tooling support in the water blast contracting industry.

In addition to hosting Christmas for the Kids events, LEC Cares has also given back by providing the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office with toys for young children involved in traumatic incidents