Our fourth trip took us back to Holy Family Catholic Church. Through the help of various people and groups we were able to take gifts to more than 160 kids.
Friday, we started by helping receive a donation from a church out of Alexandria, LA. It was interesting to be on the receiving side of a drop off. This group brought a 12' trailer filled to the max with clothing, pillows, personal care items. More amazing was how quickly Holy Family's volunteers had it sorted and put away. That afternoon we set up for the next days festivities. Behind a curtain, tables were arranged to display toys organized by age then interest. Next came stockings and stuffers. The last table was gift wrapping.
On Saturday, parents were given the opportunity to "shop" for a surprise gift for Christmas. Upon signing in, they received a ticket for each child under their care. These tickets enabled them to receive a toy, a stocking, a small toy for the stocking, and a large piece of candy. Local volunteers helped wrap their gifts. Some of our other volunteers helped run games for the kids while their parents shopped.
How do you write about a mission trip? How do you express the grief these people face every day? The utter exhaustion? The destruction that is still literally in their backyard? I mean, the priests are still encouraging their parishioners through their homilies to be patient and stay encouraged while they wait to hear from their insurance company or FEMA. How do you verbalize how it felt to receive a smile from a worried parent? Or how it felt to watch a kids guard drop just for a moment? Or to know that the volunteer helping you make this event happen trusts you enough to share her story? How can you tell them of the mark they left on you?
The people we have met are strong. They are amazing. They are Cajun. They make things happen. They move forward. They are givers. While we were there they were collecting generators and gas cans to take to Kentucky.
The community of Holy Family has been so welcoming. There are three sisters from the order of Little Nuns of Jesus and Mary and then there is also two Friars from the Little Friars of Jesus and Mary. They are training a postulate now. It's been wonderful hearing his story and watching him grow in his calling. These holy men and women, along with some amazing volunteers, are trying to bring the area of Dulac and Grand Caillou back to their faith. Please pray for them.
Special thanks to:
Knights of Columbus Council #13808
Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Milledgeville, GA
Christ Our King and Savior Catholic Church in Greensboro, GA
Anonymous Donor in Greensboro, GA
Donors in Dulac, LA