Christmas event brings cheer, toys to Ascension Parish

Gonzales Middle School Principal Lori Charlet, with the help of others, has been hosting a Christmas event geared toward helping kids in the Donaldsonville and Gonzales areas for the last 12 years.

The event, “Santa on the Poach,” which has annually occurred at Charlet’s Donaldsonville home on her front porch, continued this year with a success.

“So, 12 years ago, my house has a front porch and we would go sit out and visit and we call it poaching,” Charlet said. “Well, then we decided 12 years ago that we get someone to dress up as Santa and then let people come to the poach because people love coming there to visit but we would let them come to the poach, take a picture with Santa and they could pay $5 for the picture.

“We would use the money to buy toys for children in Donaldsonville, which is where my house is, and that’s where I was born and raised, and the children of Gonzalez, which is the community I serve,” Charlet added.

Charlet said they have raised close to $20,000 total over the last 12 years through the “Santa on the Poach” event. The group raised about $4,000 at this year’s event, according to Charlet but the work isn’t done.

“We just organize it and we start advertising it on Facebook about four to six weeks out, and we just advertise strictly through Facebook and people come,” she said. “They come because when it comes to children, people are so generous.”


Charlet said the toys brought are given to the Gonzales Police Department to distribute to children in Gonzales and Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, which gives the toys to kids in the Donaldsonville area.

With the amount of money donated to the event, Charlet said there is still shopping to do to get toys for the kids in Gonzales and Donaldsonville.

She said she expects to make her final toy delivery to the law enforcement agencies on Christmas Eve.

“I’m waiting to see if there are specific needs that need to be filled. And in the next week or two if I don’t get any specific needs, I’m gonna go and spend the rest of the money,” she said. “I’m gonna go buy more dolls, more trucks, more blocks, more makeup, you know more speakers. Anything that I think the teenagers will like. I’ll make deliveries to the Gonzales Police Department up until Christmas Eve. Last year, I made my last delivery to them on December 24. The money just keeps pouring in. And people are just so generous. And we spend every single penny, every penny.”

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