Community Organizations step up to Ease the Holiday Crunch for Families

Photos courtesy Eric Gillard/NOPD

Endya Gillard Data News Weekly Contributor

The holidays are meant to be a cheerful time, but with inflation and concerns of a recession, consumers indicated they are struggling to purchase items this holiday season. The continued rise in costs of some daily household needs has caused a huge burden on families and has increased the pressure for families to afford toys and food during this year.

Roughly 50-percent of consumers indicated that “Santa will be less generous, and 40-percent of Americans are foregoing holiday gifts this year due to inflation,” according to a recent survey conducted by WalletHub. The National Retail Association also noted that Black Friday crowds were smaller than expected in major cities, with retailers reporting that consumers were focusing on smart purchases, instead of splurges.

Local organizations are setting up toy drives and food drives to support families choosing between bringing holiday cheer and keeping food on the table. As part of that effort, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) hosted its toy drive on Dec. 7th for local children in their community hoping to bring holiday cheer to families in need.

“It really feels good to get those kids something that they may not have received,” said Second District New Orleans Police Department School Resource Officer, Tianna Conway. “Some come from abusive homes, or they are in very traumatic living conditions, so just being able to bless them makes me feel really good.”

For the Annual NOPD Toy Drive officers purchase toys to give back to less fortunate children and distribute at schools in the city as well. Before going to purchase the toys, the officers incorporate a wish list to get a good idea of what are the top toys for kids this year. Once all the gifts are purchased, they dress up as holiday characters and perform a show for the children.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of toys rose by 3.1-percent in October and food prices are up on average by 8-percent. This holiday season many people’s shopping habits are affected by inflation and families are seeking other financing options to cover their holiday purchases this year, according to data by Oracle Retail.

Despite, these tough times in the economy, many organizations are still wanting to help their community have a great holiday season. New Orleans Construction Company, Verius Property Group, hosted a food drive and collected over 4,000 non-perishable items to donate to a couple of food banks in Marrero, on the Westbank.

“It was super impactful for the community,” said Jackson Wemmitt, an estimator at Verius. “I come from a community where this is a common need every single year, so I try to go out of my way to do it every year no matter which community I am in,” Wemmitt said.

The City of New Orleans has held food drives alongside several other community organizations and will continue to do so leading up to Christmas Day.

“I am glad we can give back to the unfortunate children that we see daily that do not have toys, and the good part is when their face lights up when you give them the toys,” said New Orleans Second District Police Officer, Heather Gore. “It makes me feel like I have accomplished something throughout the year,” Gore said.

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Photos by Terry B. Jones Publisher, Data News Weekly Sharon Martin, as a solo act or with her band Music
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