CALCASIEU PARISH — It has not been an easy year for so many families across Southwest Louisiana. While dealing with the pandemic, the area saw a record-breaking hurricane season.
There's now an effort underway to help these families have a merry Christmas despite the challenges.
Driving around Lake Charles, you can still the devastation and damage left behind after the storms.
"It's hard for the kids," hurricane victim Ashley Thomas said. "Riding around, having to see their town like this.You see destruction every where you go. It's hard."
For Thomas, it's a sight that's a reminder of the pain the area has endured.
"I've been going from motel to motel," Thomas said. Her situation is one that's similar to many others, as she and her family continue to recover after the storm.
With the holidays approaching, it's been even harder trying to make it feel like Christmas. However, during her time of struggle she and her family are getting help.
"It just got a little easier," Thomas said. "I finally have some gifts i can give to them."
The Operation Unite organization, along with another organization called People Helping People are making sure Southwest Louisiana children get a Christmas. They're adopting families and giving them gifts for the holidays.
"We got bikes, toys, gift cards, headphones and more," Thaddeus Chenier with the organization said. "You name it, we got it. It's not just us. People all over the U.S. are shipping and sending boxes of toys from unknown addresses. They're saying, 'Hey, we want to help'. It's a team effort to help everyone in Calcasieu get at least a smile for Christmas."
An event will be held at the Lake Charles Civic Center December 20th where kids can get a toy. View the photo below for more information.