Halloween costume drive scheduled for this weekend; First United Methodist Church & sponsors provide hurricane relief

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, October 27, 2021

LAPLACE — As a father of children ranging from preschool to high school age, Pastor Jason Harris understands that it’s important for kids to have normal experiences in the midst of an abnormal time.

An “Ida Boo” Halloween costume drive will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, October 30 at First United Methodist Church of LaPlace, located at 301 Bamboo Road in LaPlace. Hot meals and hurricane relief supplies will also be distributed during this time on a first come, first served basis.

First United Methodist Church is hosting the event along with Cal and Melanie Spoon of InsuranceBusters.net. Shaun and Natalie Hodge of Hodge Law Firm are also sponsoring the costume drive.

Harris has strived to make the church a distribution hub for food and supplies needed for long-term recovery efforts in St. John Parish. Providing relief to families during the fall and winter holidays is just one example of how community members are taking care of each other.

“The church is a bit of a shell right now because we flooded and took on some roof and water damage as well, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be the church. This is just a building. Serving and giving back is what it’s about,” Harris said.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner, and the rebuilding process will stretch beyond the holiday season.

“We hope to have meals for Thanksgiving and, by Christmas, be able to give out gifts as well. I think it’s important, especially for that age group of children who have not had a normal school year because of COVID and Hurricane Ida,” Harris said. “That puts a strain on kids’ mental health as well. For them to have something that at least feels normal, something that’s fun and not stressful, kind of provides an escape from all the chaos that’s been going on. If it helps the parents as well, then it’s kind of a mental break for the whole family.”

Thanks to a donation from a generous church member, Halloween will be all the more special for children in the community. This week, Harris is delivering enough candy for all 710 pre-K through third grade students platooning at Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School to satisfy their sweet tooth. It’s his hope that many of the children who receive bags of candy on Friday will also come out and receive a Halloween costume during Saturday’s event.

Both the church and InsuranceBusters.net are collecting costumes for the distribution.

Public adjuster Cal Spoon and his wife, Melanie, have been involved in natural disaster recovery efforts for the past decade. They have served meals at First United Methodist Church in LaPlace for the past three weeks and intend to continue throughout the holiday season.

The efforts are never done for recognition or publicity. Spoon believes wholeheartedly that when coming into a community, you should do your part to lift up that community.

“A community can never recover on its own. With that said, there was already a shortage of people unable to perform prior to the hurricane due to COVID. Adding both of those things together, people have enough on their plate right now, and the last thing they should have to be worrying about is getting a costume,” Spoon said.

Spoon is happy to see others within the industry take the initiative to feed disaster-impacted communities because something as simple as a hot meal can change everything.

“If you get up Saturday morning and life is too much, and you are served a hot meal by someone who will never talk to you again or see you again, it really changes your outlook on what that day looks like,” Spoon said.

Those who would like to support the upcoming holiday initiatives can send costumes, checks or money orders to:

First United Methodist of LaPlace c/o Wendi
301 Bamboo Road
LaPlace, LA. 70068

Please make a note of which holiday initiative you are donating to, and receipts for tax purposes can be provided upon request.