The Christmas spirit was alive during a presentation by Tangipahoa Parish Assessor Joaquin “Junior” Matheu during the annual Christmas gift distribution to the New Horizon Youth Services Bureau last month.

“Christmas is a very special time for my office,” Matheu said. “Each year, I am proud of my staff for helping make Christmas joyful for a family in need in our area.”

Since taking office in 2005, Matheu and his staff have purchased gifts for a family chosen by the New Horizon Youth Services Bureau, a news release from the Assessor’s Office said.

Terry Pisciotta coordinates the gift buying for the office, the release said.

“All we get from New Horizon is the age and sex of the children,” Pisciotta said. “Then our ‘gift-buying elves’ get busy purchasing presents for this family. It really is a labor of love for everyone involved.”

Matheu and his staff collected more than 40 gifts for the family this year, the release said.

“Our community is fortunate to have a generous man like Junior Matheu as our assessor,” said Natoyah Smith, New Horizon administrative specialist. “Mr. Matheu leads the way in providing gifts for a family we know would not have a Christmas without the help of Mr. Matheu and his staff.”

In addition to his Christmas gift campaign, Matheu donates his time for Southeastern Louisiana University athletics and many other civic organizations, the release said.

“We live in a great parish, and I’m happy to be in a position to help others,” Matheu said. “This really is the true meaning of Christmas.”