Some have called her the angel on the West Bank. Jerry Dean Meyers has been feeding people on the West Bank for many years and distributing food baskets to families who can’t afford the Thanksgiving celebration for the past 16 years.

Proceeds from the annual prayer breakfast sponsored by the Benefit Holiday Food Drive Inc. help fund the baskets, along with canned goods collected by eight area schools: Ruppel Academy for Advance Studies, Gretna No. 2 Academy, William Hart Elementary, Gretna Park Elementary, Thomas Jefferson High School, George Cox Elementary School, McDonogh 26 Elementary School and Terrytown Elementary. The schools collected can goods from Nov. 3-19.

Meyers said they only raised $2,400 from the prayer breakfast, which wasn’t going to be enough to purchase all of the turkeys she need.

“I told the Lord, you gave me this assignment, now I need your help. I got on the phone and started calling people and they came through,” she said.

This year, Meyers was able to give out 404 baskets and turkeys. That’s 101 cases of turkeys. She was even able to give two turkeys to the Alice Brown Thanksgiving Dinner at Gretna Community Center.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, Meyers, along with the West Jefferson High School ROTC, family members and members of the Benefit Holiday Food Drive committee, helped bag the baskets at the American Legion Post 64 Hall at Mel Ott Park in Gretna. The cadets also came back on Monday to help give out the turkeys and gift baskets and carry them to the car.

Post 64 has been letting Meyers distribute the baskets every year at no charge.

“This is our way of giving back to the community and we enjoy doing it,” Post Commander Donna Frantzen said.

Meyer said, “Some people tell me if it wasn’t for our baskets and turkey giveaway, they wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving. It has to be God, because he has blessed me with all kinds of good people.”

Some of those people are Jefferson Parish School Board representative Mark Morgan and his assistant, Sharon Hunter, who sends out the correspondence to solicit the school to start collecting canned goods; Sharon Roberts; Councilman Chris Roberts; Councilman Rickey Templet; and Carol Ford, Wal-Mart meat manager.

Even though Meyers suffers with knee problems, she said she will continue to feed families in the community.

To donate to the Benefit Holiday Food Drive, contact Meyers at (504) 361-1941.

Algiers Bonfire

The Algiers Economic Development will hold its annual Algiers Bonfire and Concert from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 6 on the Riverfront at Algiers Point Ferry Landing, 200 Morgan St., Algiers.

The theme will be “A Riverfront Holiday Celebration.”

The event will include music from Diablo’s Horns, Romy Kay and the Mercy Buckets and DJ Rik Ducci.

There will be multiple food trucks, bounce houses and face painting for the kids.

For information, call (504) 362-6436 or visit algiersbon fire.com.

Marrero Estelle Volunteer Fire Co. Christmas parade

The Marrero Estelle Volunteer Fire Co. will hold its annual Christmas parade carrying Santa Claus on Saturday, Dec.13. It will leave the firehouse at 2248 Barataria Blvd. about 10 a.m., and ride through neighborhoods in areas south of Lapalco, to the Harvey canal and down to the V Levee.

Marrero Estelle Volunteer Fire Co. blood drive

The fire station’s next blood drive will be held Monday, Dec. 15. Santa Claus will be visiting and children can come out to see Santa. All blood donations are welcome for The Blood Center. Donors will receive a T-shirt and blood coverage.

For information, contact Michelle Preuss at (504) 367-5010 or email michelle@ timberlanecc.com.

Yetoria Lumpkin DeShazier writes about the people and events in Algiers and the West Bank. Contact her at ydeshazier@gmail.com or call (504) 367-0905.