American Legion Post 131 launches annual Christmas drive for veterans and seniors

Luling’s American Legion Post 131 recently announced it will continue collecting donated goods from St. Charles Parish residents until Dec. 16 for its annual Christmas drive, with all goods to be distributed to veterans and senior citizens living in local-area nursing homes.

Goods collected from St. Charles Parish residents for the drive this month will be sorted and finally distributed on Dec. 20 by American Legion Post 131 members.

The local veterans’ group is collecting everyday items veterans and senior citizens living in local convalescent homes often need or use throughout the year. Items needed this year include: 2024 monthly calendars, puzzle books, sudoku books, socks, cookies, chocolate bars, juice boxes, pudding, Jell-O, hats, gloves, denture adhesive, Efferdent, full-size shampoo bottles, soap, reading glasses, glass cleaner and miscellaneous toiletry items.

“What we do [for this drive] is – we get the names of veterans from St. Charles Parish, and we fix them a special little basket with their names on it,” John Hymel, American Legion Post 131 Treasurer, said of how the drive is run. “The rest [of the donated goods] we box up, [deliver it] and employees at the various nursing homes distribute it to the rest of the patients.”

Hymel estimated the event benefits as many as 75 to 100 elderly veterans and seniors or more who are currently living in local area convalescent homes, including the Southeast Veterans Home in Reserve and SummerHouse Ashton Manor in Luling.

Members of the American Legion Post 131 have helped organize this drive for many years, but for the last three to four years the group has stepped up its collection efforts, often collecting additional donations themselves while stationed at St. Charles Parish area merchants during peak retail traffic times.

Post 131 has established two temporary collection centers for locals to drop off their donations: PT Solutions on Highway 90 as well as at Dufrene Building Supply on Sugarhouse Road, both in Luling. Residents wishing to donate goods for the drive can also contact a local American Legion Post 131 member to arrange pickup for donations.

Many residents living in nursing homes have limited income, often receiving minimum personal allowances – Medicaid residents receive just $38 per month for personal expenses – making the American Legion’s annual Christmas donations a meaningful boost during the holidays.

“Some things they can’t afford, so we just supply it for them,” Hymel said as to the reason for the group’s annual Christmas drive. “What [veterans and senior citizens] get [from this drive] probably lasts them until next year, when we do it again for them.”

For more information on the drive, contact the American Legion Post 131 at Ph. 985-210-2010 or visit the group’s Facebook page online.

Post 131 on Milling Avenue in Luling is just one American Legion location in a network of thousands just like it across the country. The nonprofit American Legion, with headquarters based out of Indianapolis, Ind., is considered the United States’ largest wartime veterans service organization with an estimated 1.8 million veteran members.


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