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‘Garage giveaway’ lets neighbors take what they need

BY BROOKE R. CANTRELLE

L’OBSERVATEUR

 

GARAGE: Donations help event grow each year

 

LAPLACE – Instead of a garage sale, the Allen family is hosting their third annual garage giveaway – an event that encourages community members to take what they need.

Pamela and Jimmy Allen, owners of Elite Affairs Event Rentals in LaPlace, yearned to ease the burden of local families during the often-hectic holiday season. Together with Jimmy’s daughter Dionne Allen, the family is hosting the garage sale style giveaway event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 at 1601 Williamsburg Drive in LaPlace.

Facemasks are required for entry, and a sanitizing station will be made available. The garage giveaway will also include Walmart gift card raffles, as well as complimentary food and drinks.

Family and friends have stepped up to donate items for the garage giveaway, according to Dionne. Donations are still being accepted at 1601 Williamsburg Drive in LaPlace, where they will be sorted and thoroughly sanitized prior to the Dec. 5 event.

“This was something that my dad and his wife thought about doing, and then we decided to collaborate with other friends and family members who wanted to contribute to this to help the less fortunate,” Dionne said.

“We allow people to come and take anything they need. During the holidays, many people suffer from depression and anxiety. Due to COVID and the lack of resources that people have, especially since people have been furloughed or their jobs have been terminated, we really saw that this is something that needed to go on just to lift people’s spirits a little bit. We want to proceed safely but still help people in our community. What we are really pushing is that everyone has to wear a mask to come out and receive anything.”

Pamela and Jimmy supplied many of the items during the first garage giveaway. However, it did not take long to see how willing the community was to support others in need through donations.

“We found a lot of people are doing donations to help us enhance it. Every year we can see that it is getting better and we are able to serve the community better,” Pamela said. “Going back to the previous giveaways, we were able to give out a bedroom set, dressers, furniture pieces, mattresses, clothing items, baby toys and clothing for kids. We even had a massage chair. It was a variety of different items that were available. The most rewarding part was that we were able to help people.”

According to Dionne, other items at the garage giveaway include but are not limited to electronics, kitchenware, comforters, sheets, curtains, vacuum cleaners, an electric wheelchair, shoes and car supplies.

Last year’s event saw approximately 150 to 200 people over the course of several hours.

Donation drop-offs are not the only way the community has rallied to help brothers and sisters in need. During previous giveaways, the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office directed traffic and helped people load items into their vehicles.

Student volunteers have also assisted in the event. The Allen family will sign off on service hours for students who can assist in sanitizing and organizing inventory during the Dec. 5 garage giveaway.

For more information, please call Pamela Allen at 504-615-5468.