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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — As preparation for the holidays continues, local organizations are trying to lessen the burden on families.

The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club hosted their annual Toys for Tots Giveaway on Sunday.

Cars lined up at the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office to receive toys, bikes and tablets provided by Zulu.

Spearheaded by the group’s president, the annual event started around the time Christmas in New Orleans wasn’t looking as joyous.

“Right after Hurricane Katrina, the president, at the time, wanted to make sure that while life was… most adults’ lives were turned upside down,” explained Elroy James, president of  Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club. “He also believed that children needed to have normalcy. And so, that’s what we’re dealing with today, actually, with the pandemic and inflation. It’s still important that children have a smile on their face and appreciate Christmas.”

For one member of Zulu, this event hits close to home.

“My mother raised six of us by herself, and Christmastime is a challenging time for families,” said Congressman Troy Carter, a Zulu member. “You’re not always able to get the things that your kid wants, and peer pressure is huge.”

Carter says he understands the struggle placed on some families during the holidays.

“And so, imagining a mom having to get toys and food and clothes for six children, and that’s repeated over and over again throughout our country,” said Congressman Carter. “Christmas should not be a stressful time, but for many parents, it will be, so this gives us an opportunity because no kid should wake up Christmas morning and not have a toy.”  

The parents in attendance were certainly grateful.  

“I appreciate everything, and it’s a blessing to those who need a little help, especially these times in the year,” said Tina Campbell, who received gifts.