On Wednesday, December 2, 2020, the Board of Operation Merry Christmas met at the St. Bernard Parish Government Complex in Chalmette to present grant checks to charitable organizations in support of their programs. Members of Operation Merry Christmas 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.
A Knight’s Gift Chairman, Cisco Gonzales, said “A food distribution will be made Saturday, December 20th from 9:00 to 10:00 am. 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 – 12:00 noon. The location for both distributions will be at the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center’s Ballroom, located at 8245 W. Judge Perez Dr.” Gonzalez reminds all participants that facemasks and social distancing are required for the days of giveaway.
“It’s the Christmas Season that ignites the Knights of Columbus #5747 to gear up rapidly for this year’s Christmas Gift give-away known as A Knight’s Gift. With the support of Operation Merry Christmas, this year’s event will be bigger than ever, said Robby Showalter, KofC member. 2020 has presented many challenges. We hope that this program will help to bring some cheer to families who may be struggling.”
Operation Merry Christmas Member Judy Hoffmeister said, “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.”
Other charitable organizations receiving grants included: The Arc of Greater New Orleans, The St. Bernard Volunteers for Family and Community, and Second Harvest Food Bank. Toni Wright, Development Officer at ArcGNO said, “the long-term support provided by OMC has sustained programs for a very long time, enabling us to meet the needs of our community of adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.” Joan Garofalo, President of The St. Bernard Volunteers for Family and Community said that her organization will use these funds to focus on the needs of underprivileged school children throughout St. Bernard. Oliver Doxtater at Second Harvest Food Bank stated, “the funds from OMC will help the citizens of St. Bernard throughout the year.”