More than 100 children from Livingston Parish now have a jump-start on the approaching school year after receiving free backpacks Saturday.

The giveaway was part of Satsuma Baptist Church’s annual event to help families in the community, student pastor Otis Voss said.

“That’s what it’s all about — just reaching out to the community,” Voss said.

Pastor Brad Delaughter said the backpack giveaway was inspired by his passion for children’s ministry.

“Meeting a genuine need is what the church is,” Delaughter said. “Everybody has needs. We want them to know that we’re here for them. We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and we want to share the Gospel of Jesus.”

Last year was a great success, said Leslie Falks, a Walker native who cooked jambalaya for the event. “We have a lot of people in need. It’s an awesome experience.”

Lifelong member Brice Daniel Case, 16, said she could see the smiles on the children’s faces and the impact the event made on the community.

Shannon Voss agreed, saying, “It’s a way that we can serve and give back to the community.”

Barbara McLin, who raises her great-granddaughter Charlie Williams, 8, said the event helps people — like her — who can’t afford to buy everything their children need to start the school year off right.

“I’m on a fixed income.” Williams said. “I was excited.”

After receiving her backpack, Charlie played games and jumped on jumpolines provided by the Eastern Louisiana Baptist Association.

The event provided an opportunity for “everybody to come together real well,” Melancon said.

“It’s a great event for the whole community, even nonchurched people and children,” Deacon Charles Woods said. The church has held other events, such as Vacation Bible School, throughout the year to help benefit the community, especially the children, Woods said.

“We try to reach out to the community and help kids,” Melancon said.

For more information about upcoming events at Satsuma Baptist Church, visit www. or contact Satsuma Baptist Church at (225) 686-2563.