So many of us in Acadiana are blessed and able to help others who can’t help themselves. And every year thousands of us do just that. Still, there are countless among us who are in need, and the holiday season presents numerous opportunities for kids to learn how to give back. Below are four easy ways you can get involved.
SpiritofXmas1
‘Lane’s Promise’
Founded in 2005 by Kelly Leger to help local families enjoy the Christmas holiday, Lane’s Promise this year will be tending to the needs of 15 families. That includes 58 children, several elderly men and women and 12 men who participate in the Breaking Down Barriers program for the mentally challenged.

“We have also taken on a tutoring program for 35 underprivileged kids and are giving them a gift and stocking filled with school supplies and toiletries,” Leger says. “We are also stocking the shelves of the Thensted Center in Grand Coteau with staples like laundry detergent and cereal and cleaning supplies.”
To donate, send checks to Lane’s Promise, P.O. Box 1017, Carencro, LA, 70520; for more info, visit Lanespromise.org.

Cox’s ‘Days of Giving’
Cox Communications in Acadiana is supporting a nationwide Cox holiday campaign to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of America this holiday season. “Days of Giving” makes it simple for Cox customers to donate toys to local children.
Customers can stop by any Cox retail store to donate a new, unwrapped toy. Toys will be donated to Boys & Girls Clubs in Abbeville, Lafayette and New Iberia. Each customer who donates receives a plush Holiday Digeez doll. The campaign started Nov. 23 and runs through Dec. 14. Toys will be donated to local Boys & Girls Clubs on Wednesday, Dec. 19, for distribution to Club kids.
Boxes near a giving tree in the company’s stores allow customers to donate with ease, benefiting as many children as possible.

‘CUPS Basket Ministry’SpiritofXmas2
The CUPS Basket Ministry produced more than 1,000 Christmas baskets in 2011 for families that would not otherwise have Christmas presents. Since 2007, the organization’s “elves” have been making Christmas baskets for all ages (babies, children, teens, and adults). Baskets are fashioned from donated items, including like-new, refurbished, handmade and new. There are also some Christmas decorations available, and a few artificial Christmas trees are given away on a first-requested basis.
The time to refer someone for the baskets has passed, but the organization is still taking donations to fill this year’s requests.
Go to cupscommunity.ning.com to make a donation or for more info.

 

‘Helping Hands for the Holidays
Scott Brazda and the Stuller Family Foundation raise money for this cause, Helping Hands for the Holidays, and the Community Foundation of Acadiana processes the donations. Bruce Mikels at 97.3 The Dawg solicits stories from people who know someone in need — someone trying to make ends meet but for one reason or another has run into a bit of bad luck. Chris Blanchard of Covenant United Methodist Church plays Santa Claus for this terrific community event. In the last five years, the effort has distributed more than $150,000 in grants and services — and the organizations goes the extra mile to ensure the donations help people truly in need. “Bruce gets tons of emails and letters from people nominating friends, family, neighbors, strangers,” Brazda says. “He gives them to me, and I check them out as best I can. If someone says they work at Company X or are late on their utility bills or their kids’ tuition, I put on my reporter’s hat and check them out.” Once the committee decides to make a grant to the nominee, a payment is made directly to the school or the utility company. “We never give cash,” Brazda says. Helping Hands also brings in companies that donate services instead of cash.

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