During the season for tidings of comfort and joy, Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino in Shreveport, Louisiana brought both to local children and their families during a recent toy drive.
Over the holiday season, team members donated nearly 200 new toys to the Gingerbread House Bossier/Caddo Children’s Advocacy Center in Shreveport. The non-profit community-based center’s mission is to lessen the trauma experienced by child abuse victims and to provide support for child victims throughout the investigation, prosecution and treatment phases of their cases.
“Sam’s Town has participated in an annual holiday toy drive for at least 14 years – since Boyd Gaming acquired Sam’s Town Shreveport,” said Wesley Garcia, Director of Human Resources. “This was our first time donating to Gingerbread House.”
Most of the gifts were distributed through the center’s Sponsor a Family for Christmas program, which helps provide children served by Gingerbread House a cheerful holiday with new, unwrapped toys. The remaining toys were donated to the organization’s waiting rooms to help keep kids busy, happy and comfortable before and after case interviews.
“Because of ongoing investigations, children sometimes are removed from their families and are going through a really tough time,” said Sophia Herron, Gingerbread House Child Life Specialist. “The toy program makes Christmas a little easier for these families.”
In past years, Bobby Barber, Slot Operations Manager, donated one or two toys, but this year he went above and beyond and took up a collection for a personal reason among friends and family.
“Gingerbread House is a special place for one of my family members who used its services,” said Barber. “I collected and donated about 50 gifts, including footballs, basketballs, board games, dolls, stuffed animals and any kind of toy you can imagine.”
For the fifth consecutive year – since he’s been at Sam’s Town Shreveport – Casino Host Manager JT Thames donated nearly a dozen gifts.
“Toys mean everything to kids, and they should have something to open for Christmas,” said Thames. “If it makes a difference to one child, then I feel like I’ve done something.”
To learn more about Gingerbread House Bossier/Caddo Children’s Advocacy Center, visit www.gingerbreadhousecac.org.