The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office annual Christmas Crusade for Children program is underway for the 2016 holiday season.

“This year’s program, now in its 19th year, has provided thousands of children in our community with toys for Christmas,” Sheriff Jeff Wiley said.

The program provides toys to children through age 12. In 2015, the program was able to purchase toys for more than 369 families and well over 816 children.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office is accepting toys, and monetary donations to help make this Christmas an enjoyable one for families, a news release said.

Toy collection drives will be held over the next few weeks at various locations, the release said.

On Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m. residents are invited to help participate in shopping night for toys for qualifying families at the Gonzales Wal-Mart.

"Our annual Christmas Crusades program has become such a part of the fabric of the Sheriff's Office and our community," Wiley said. "I am indeed thankful for the many community partners who have come together to support our Ascension Parish community through such a worthwhile endeavor."

Ascension Parish residents needing assistance can apply for this year’s program. Applications are at the sheriff’s offices at the Donaldsonville Courthouse, the Gonzales Business Office or the Family Services Division at the Gonzales Courthouse.

Applicants will need to bring current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program information, copies of each child’s birth certificate, a valid Louisiana photo ID, proof of income and a copy of a current Ascension Parish utility bill showing proof of residency.

The deadline for submitting applications is Nov. 18. Residents accepted into the program will be notified by letter.

For additional information, to volunteer or request assistance, call Deputy Janet Fontenot at (225) 621-8318 or Deputy Jodie Delaune at (225) 621-8374.