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Blessed to Be a Blessing, Cargill partner to donate school supplies to foster children

LAPLACE — Less than one week after the 2021 Backpack Extravaganza, Blessed to Be a Blessing and community partner Cargill teamed up to gift additional school supplies, hygiene kits and backpacks to foster children in the River Parishes.

The Department of Children and Family Services picked up the donations from Cargill’s office on July 22. Representative Michele L. Adams-Barre said the supplies will make a tremendous impact on foster children in the River Region.

“A lot of times, kids come into care in the middle of the night or on the weekends, and it’s hard for workers to be able to get out into the stores and purchase items for their basic care needs. The hygiene kits will really come in handy for those situations when the agents might be in a pinch and can’t run out and get what they need for an overnight stay,” Adams-Barre said.

She added that the school supply donations will ease the financial burden for foster parents facing the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Foster parents are just regular people in the community who provide assistance for our agency and help the children as they go through the journey of foster care,” she said. “The pandemic changed the world in an instant for a lot of people, and a lot of foster families had a hard time being able to continue to accept placements. Having that help from community partners will make it a little bit easier for our foster parents.”

Adams-Barre appreciates the selfless donation, and she thanks Cargill representative Natasha Bates for facilitating the partnership between the Department of Children and Family Services and Blessed to Be a Blessing Founder Eliza Eugene.

Bates said Cargill employees have been passionate about helping foster children in the region since the company partnered with Child Advocacy Services.

“We have partnered with CASA in the past. We donate to them every year, and they’ve been a part of our Employee Giving Campaign. Every year, we allow nonprofits within our community to come and talk to our employees about what their nonprofit represents. Then employees are able to donate and it comes out of their paycheck. From CASA came helping the foster children,” Bates said.

She added, “Our main focus is helping our community thrive. Our community involvement committee is very hands on, especially when it comes to anything dealing with food, children and the elderly. Our employees take time outside of work to be able to serve within our community, and we are very proud of our employees who show up every year when we participate in community events.”

Cargill assisted in the recent Backpack Extravaganza, donating 500 backpacks filled with school supplies. The donation to the Department of Children and Family Services included another 24 hygiene kits and backpacks stuffed with supplies.

Eugene once served as a foster mother, and she hopes this donation can be the beginning of an ongoing relationship with the Department of Children and Family Services.

“We thought it was important to expand our territory. Why not reach every child? It’s important that they know that Blessed to Be a Blessing and many others care enough to send the tools to give them a healthy and happy start to the new school year,” Eugene said. “Most foster children are in an unusual situation. Some of the guardians may be grandparents who don’t really have much except the love in their hearts. Case workers can now go into the homes and present the school supplies to take that financial burden off of that foster parent.”

According to Eugene, Blessed to Be a Blessing is a 100% volunteer-run organization. Since it is a nonprofit organization, every donation taken in goes back to the community.

“I’m just a visionary. I can’t do anything without the support of the community, and I thank God for the supporters, from the big businesses to the small businesses and the volunteers who make it possible for us to do what we do,” Eugene said.

For more information on how to donate or volunteer with Blessed to Be a Blessing, visit btbb.org, email info@btbab.org or call Eliza Eugene at 504-451-4712.