The Port Arthur News
Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the City of Nederland and the faith-based nonprofit organization Community Care Prayer Outreach, Amber Simon’s children will have a merry Christmas.
Simon left the annual toy drive on Thursday with an armful of surprises for two of her sons — Hot Wheels cars for 5-year-old Joseph, a magic wand for 8-year-old Shaun and a plethora of books and pencils.
“I’ve seen lots of programs like this, but nothing compares to them,” Simon, who lives in Port Arthur, said. “They are more than giving.”
Community Care Prayer Outreach has brightened the holiday season in South Jefferson County for quite a long time. In 2008, when City Manager Chris Duque came to Nederland, the city joined the efforts.
“When I started, one of the things I wanted was to engage the city more in community projects,” Duque said. “This organization came to our attention, and we decided to do an employee toy drive.”
Since the week of Thanksgiving, toys have been pouring into various offices in the City of Nederland. Each year, Duque sets up a brand-new garbage can at the Nederland City Hall building for employees to deposit their donations. This year, he said, the can overflowed.
“The employees have the community in their heart, and they opened up their pocketbooks at this time,” Duque said. “I’m very proud of all of them.”
Duque and the city employees delivered the bounty to the Community Care Prayer Outreach building, 808 Nederland Avenue, on Thursday, making the holidays merrier for more than 200 children.
Community Care Prayer Outreach aims to serve the community year-round — the organization offers free pregnancy testing and sponsors a GED program — but its responsibility becomes crucial during the holiday season, executive director Libby Arnold said. And with the city’s assistance, Arnold said, the event’s outreach has increased.
“Some of these families would have no Christmas if we didn’t help them,” she said. “And it’s been magnified since the city started helping. Nederland has really stepped out for us.”
Duque said the city is glad to do its part.
“So many of us have needed help at some point in our lives,” he said. “Sometimes people are down on their luck, and the compassionate thing to do is help.”