The magic of the Christmas season is evident — if you look for it — just about everywhere this time of year.
Staybridge Suites was one of those most magical places Thursday, as hotel management handed over dozens of brand new toys to representatives of the Family & Youth Counselling Agency's court-appointed special advocates for children program.
Beneath the Christmas tree adorning the hotel lobby were Minnie Mouse shopping carts, remote control trucks and "Toy Story" characters just to name a few of the toys hotel management purchased specifically for the children receiving services from the CASA program in Calcasieu, Jeff Davis, Allen and Cameron parishes.
Advocate Coordinators Rickki Young and Michaelynn Parks of the CASA program were on hand to receive the toys.
"The children are going to be so excited for these gifts, and some of the children we serve may not have received any gifts at all if it weren't for the generosity of this and other businesses in the community who make these generous donations," Young said.
Staybridge Assistant General Manager Tiffany Nelson said their group receives a wish list from children the CASA program serves, and then their team gets to work.
"The wish list is broken down by age group, and (Q-Hotels President Vimal Patel) makes sure that we are able to get every single thing on that list," Nelson said.
Young said CASA is an organization that advocates for children of all ages who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. To date, the program has served about 162 children throughout Calcasieu, Jeff Davis, Allen and Cameron parishes.
This advocacy is possible solely through the help of ordinary people with extraordinary hearts who volunteer their time to make visits to the children in their foster care settings, attend and speak at court hearings and ensure the appropriate care is given to the children — whether they have been placed in foster care, or the care of a relative, Young said.
Though many of the children receiving services through CASA wished for toys and games this holiday season, Young and Parks admitted more CASA volunteers would be what they would ask for on their own Christmas wish lists.