Over 800 attendees participate in 21st Annual Christmas Party

Over 800 people attend 21st Annual Christmas Party

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Families Helping Families of Southwest Louisiana works with families or individuals with disabilities by providing information, support, and much more.

But tonight at their 21st Annual Community Christmas Party, the only rule was to have fun.

Most attendees say it's a party they never miss.

"Yes ma'am, we're having a good time!" exclaimed Vergie Green. And like her, most attendees at tonight's annual Christmas party say they've been coming for years.

Bob Carroll, a volunteer with Team Citgo says, "I've done this now for 10 years, my favorite event of the year."

The organization works with families or individuals with disabilities – all were invited tonight.

"We provide information and referral, education and training, and peer support. The unique thing about us is we all have people with disabilities in our lives," explained Executive Director Susan Benoit.

Bernadette Courville, another board member added, "The organization just helps us parents become more of an advocate for our children."

Oris Young says the organization has helped his family, along with his granddaughter Carlie.

"They do a fantastic job. They offer a lot of services to the community. And people with special needs need to contact them because they can be a great aid to them," said Young.

Mary Ann Roach says over the years she's seen children grow up into adults. And she thinks these Christmas parties, help.

"The children have learned how to be social and they see other people being social at these places," said Roach.

But the party was for children and adults – who all took part in the dancing, and of course, meeting Santa.

Organizers say tonight's party was free for attendees and over 800 people came out from five parishes.

And everything from the food to gifts was all made possible by volunteers.

Julius Courville, a volunteer with R&R Construction says, "It's wonderful. The guys that work with us they love to come out here and work every Christmas with them. I have new guys every year wanting to do it."

"We got a full house this year, it gets better and better every year," added board member Howard Foreman.

For more information on Families Helping Families of SWLA: http://www.fhfswla.org/