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The season of giving

When you live in a place like Bogalusa, it’s hard not to get swept up in the Christmas spirit. With Columbia Street decked out in its holiday finest and Cassidy Park sparkling with thousands of lights for Christmas in the Park, even the staunchest scrooge would have a hard time feeling blue in the season of green and red.

Beginning on Thanksgiving Day, Bogalusa got the holiday season in full gear with its annual Christmas parade, which drew scores of families to the route to see the decorated cars, trucks and four-wheelers and bring home a pocketful of candy, to boot. And this weekend, Franklinton honored the traditions of yore with its own Christmas parade and Pioneer Christmas event, which continues today at Mile Branch Settlement. Washington Parish is even adding another light to its Christmas adornment when Varnado hosts its first Christmas parade on Dec. 13.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for so many reasons. It brings families together and imbues people with a sense of peace and hope for the future. And of course, the smile of a child on Christmas morning as they see what Santa has brought them is irresistible. But perhaps the best thing about the holiday season is the myriad chances it provides to do good in your own community through various giving initiatives.

The Bogalusa Toy Fund is one such way to bring the joy of Christmas to the less fortunate children in the city. According to one of the fund’s organizers, Oneita Graham, donations are needed by the end of this week so the gifts may be prepared for distribution. Donated toys should be new and unwrapped and appropriate for children ages 6 to 12. Drop-off boxes are located in several local banks and businesses. Monetary donations, which will be used to purchase new toys, can be deposited at local banks or mailed to Bogalusa Toy Fund at P.O. Box 515, Bogalusa, LA 70427. You can keep up with the fund’s work at its Facebook page and call Graham at 732-7434, Ray Ann or Sharon Wheat at 732-9492 or Martha Mitchell at 732-7017 for more information.

Said Graham, “Let’s be thankful for what we have and show the true spirit of Christmas by giving to the less fortunate of our community. Doing this will show the entire family that Bogalusa cares and will give them hope for the future.”

Additionally, the Washington Parish Fire Association is conducting its own toy drive. Donations may be dropped off at Washington Parish Fire District No. 7 or at the Bogalusa Fire Department.

Food drives may be more often associated with Thanksgiving, but no amount of Christmas cheer can lighten your mood if your belly is empty, so food or monetary donations to organizations such as the Bogalusa Help Center help to fill that void. The center is located at 350 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and all donations are tax deductible.

And of course, The Daily News is continuing its tradition of helping the needy during the holiday season with its Care and Share program, which is aiming to raise enough money to provide $75 food vouchers for 75 local families. To make a donation, stop by our office at 525 Avenue V or mail your check to Care and Share c/o The Daily News, P.O. Box 820, Bogalusa, LA 70429. And if you have a family you would like to nominate to be a recipient of one of the food vouchers, the form can be found on page 3A of today’s paper. Please get all nominations or donations to our office by Dec. 12.

With so many options to choose from, there is no reason anybody in Washington Parish should miss out on the season of giving.

David Vitrano is general manager/managing editor of The Daily News. He can be reached at david.vitrano@thebogalusadailynews.com.