On Thursday, November 30, the board of Operation Merry Christmas met at Boasso America in Chalmette to present grant checks to four charitable organizations in support of their programs. Receiving grant funds were: the Knights of Columbus Council #5747, in support of their Knight’s Gift Program; St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program, Inc., the Arc of Greater New Orleans, in support of their programs in St. Bernard Parish, and Children’s Hospital, in support of their expanding library.
Operation Merry Christmas (OMC) has assisted the St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program for many years, recognizing the importance of the organization in meeting the needs of the St. Bernard Community.
“We are grateful for the support provided by OMC”, said St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program Child Executive Director, Gail Gowland, “it is especially helpful at this time of year when many of our program participants struggle through the holiday season with little support.” Charlene Abadie, an OMC board member, said: “We hope to bring a little warmth to the women in the programs during what should be a very joyful time.”
Members of Operation Merry Christmas also presented a check to the Knights of Columbus Council #5747 to support the annual toy and food give-away program. OMC and the Knights joined forces to continue the tradition of a parish-wide food and toy distribution that was started by Operation Merry Christmas in 1985. The Knights of Columbus continue that tradition after Hurricane Katrina.
A Knight’s Gift Chairman, Cisco Gonzales, said that “A food distribution will be made at 9 am on December 17. Any family in need should contact their church to secure a voucher to receive a turkey and a food basket. A toy distribution for newborn children to age twelve will follow at 11:00 am. The location for both distributions will be at the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center’s Ballroom located at 8245 W. Judge Perez Dr.”
“It’s the Christmas Season that ignites the Knights of Columbus #5747 to gear up rapidly for this year’s Christmas Gift giveaway known as A Knight’s Gift. With the support of Operation Merry Christmas, this year’s event will be bigger than ever, said Dennis Bourgeois, Grand Knight.”
Operation Merry Christmas Founding Member, Chris Roussel stated, “OMC is pleased that the Knights of Columbus Organization is continuing to fulfill OMC’s mission, initiated in 1985; caring for those families in need, especially during the Holiday Season.”
The Arc of Greater New Orleans Chalmette Community Center was another recipient of a grant from OMC. Arc of Greater New Orleans is committed to securing, for all people with intellectual disabilities, the opportunity to develop, function and live to their fullest potential. Arc of Greater New Orleans Executive Director, Stephen Sauer, was present to accept the grant. “OMC has long supported the mission of Arc as we continue to meet the needs of the local community”, Sauer said.
Supporting Children’s Hospital with a grant for the first time, OMC hopes to add to the library collection at Children’s Hospital. “With the expansion of the hospital and the ever-increasing area of service, it’s our hope that children who have an extended stay will have resources available to them”, said founding OMC Board Member, Sally Wolfe. “Parents will have more materials to read to their children as a result of this gift”, said Children’s Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship, Lynnsey Belsome.