Local high school students Larissa Edwards, Jordan Hoffman and Elizabeth Perry volunteer for The Autism Society of SWLA as they sort recycled Mardi Gras Beads at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lake Charles, La., Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

The Autism Society of Southwest Louisiana is seeking volunteers to assist the organization with sorting through thousands of donated Mardi Gras beads this weekend.

The group will set up operations at the St. Margaret Catholic Church Life Center 9 a.m.-2 p.m. today and Saturday, Oct. 11-12, to sort through boxes upon boxes of Mardi Gras beads that will be separated and secured for selling in the upcoming Mardi Gras season.

Southwest Chapter Chair Geri Landry said the selling of the Mardi Gras beads serves as the organization’s main fundraiser each year. It allows the society to pay the fees for its members to attend summer camp events for people of all ages with autism.

The beads are donated to the society each year by local groups and community members, and the society in turn sells them to Mardi Gras krewes as they prepare for their upcoming festivities.

Landry said the fundraiser brought in more than $10,000 in bead sales last year alone.

“I began doing this 20 years ago and we made $200. I thought that was something and so we began doing it the next year and the year after that and it has grown into the very thing that helps keep our programs running each year,” Landry said.

Volunteering with the bead sorting is suitable for volunteers of all ages, Landry said. Student volunteers may also receive credit for volunteer hours.

Anyone who would like more information on volunteering may contact Landry at 499-3559.

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