BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Since the 80s, Santa Clause has been making his way through Livingston Parish by way of a fire truck.
Christmas, in fact, is still a month and a day away, but a quick glimpse of Old Saint Nick on a Saturday morning can get anyone in the holiday spirit.
Chief James T. Wascom with the Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 4 says all 10 fire stations across the parish participate.
The chief says they started the sleigh ride through town to get everyone excited about Christmas. He says it’s been a hit ever since and now people look forward to it.
This year's over 200-mile ride through the parish is a little different.
“November and December are really busy months for Mighty Moms,” says Dawn Birdsong with Mighty Moms. “There's a lot of goodwill in those two months.”
Mighty moms are along for the ride. The non-profit based in Livingston Parish started in 2010 with a goal to fight childhood hunger in the community.
Wascom says they invited the non-profit to participate this year because they share similar missions of supporting and reaching those in need. He says they want to help the entire parish in every way possible, it’s all about giving back.
So, the goal during the sleigh ride through town today was to get people in the giving mood.
“This is a really exciting way to reach people that we normally wouldn’t reach both being able to help families and collect from families as well,” Birdsong says.
Each house Santa passes, the non-profit hopes to collect canned goods for their monthly food pantry.
The non-profits feed around 160 families through the food pantry, “which equates to between 700-800 people,” Birdsong says. “This is a great way for us to collect canned goods to keep our grocery bill down.”
With a grocery bill of about 15,000 a month- each can counts. A trip to the food pantry gets one family at least 10 canned goods plus meat and produce.
Since Mighty Moms main food pantry supplier is running low, they're getting a little help from Santa the next four weeks to pick up the slack.
“We want to send them home with food they can actually make meals with,” Birdsong says. “The sky is the limit but I’m really hoping to have carloads full of canned goods.”
The non-profit hopes to reach a new group of people and help more than ever before.
The Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 4 and Mighty Moms will be riding through neighborhoods until December 16.
Click here to find out when Santa and Mighty Moms will be near you next.