“Loopin in da J” leads to special Christmas giveaways

It is said that one good things leads to another! That was personified this past week when what began as a cool idea to bring back some fond memories of good times from back in the day in Jonesboro has led to hundreds of children and youth from Jackson Parish enjoying their best Christmas holiday ever.

This was achieved through an incredible act of benevolence by several local public servants, business owners and a host of civic minded individuals, who collaborated to host a “Toy Give Away Day” in Jonesboro and at the Ward 4 Fire Station in Weston on Saturday.

Thanks to Jay Mallard graciously hosting the event at his Ford dealership location, over 150 local boys and girls came away with new toys. Ten lucky ones got an extra special surprise when they found that the toy they chose was also accompanied by a $100.00 bill that had been provided by a “Secret Santa.”

Another similar toy give away took place at the Ward 4 Fire Department station located across the highway from Weston High School. Instead of having an open house type atmosphere though this was geared more for known underprivileged children in the Ward 4 district who without the kind act of donation by the Ward 4 department would not have received anything for Christmas.

This all derived from one man simply remembering some good times.

“I heard an old song from when I was younger that brought back memories of when we used to “make loops” in town,” said Jackson Parish Sheriff Deputy Devotie Bailey, who got everything started. “I posted something about remembering those days and how much fun it was on Facebook and got tons of responses.”

Anyone who grew up in Jonesboro or Jackson Parish from the 1970’s to the turn of the century remembers when “loopin” was the main source of entertainment on the weekend for young adults and teenagers.

For those not familiar with this, kids of all ages old enough to drive would make loops in their autos by driving down main street, make a turnaround through the Sonic Drive-In when it was located between Hodge and Jonesboro and head back to Main Street. Down and back! Down and back! Over and again this would be done all night long. Every now and then you would pull in on Main Street, get out of your vehicle and visit with friends. The street would be full of people and a great time was had by all.

There were so many posts from people remembering those days that it gave Bailey an idea that maybe this was something that could be recreated and be used for a cause. The result was that the date of November 19th, was declared “Loopin in the J day” and it would be accompanied by a toy drive to help underprivileged kids get Christmas gifts.

It went so well that it was decided that this would be done again on December 10th, but this time, canned goods and coats were requested to be donated.

This past Monday, December 13th, 835 pounds of food and many winter coats were given away to needy families at the His Hand Ministry location on Jimmie Davis Blvd. (Main Street) in Jonesboro. Even more coats were donated to the Lexi’s Closet and the Pine Belt Agency that will be also distributed. This was followed by the toy give away on Saturday.

Another who played a big part in orchestrating the activities was Jonesboro Police Chief James “Spike” Harris who had his department provided security during the “loopin” and helped organize the toy giveaway.

“I would like to give special thanks to Jackson Parish Sheriff Deputy Devotie Bailey, Jay Mallard, Skeeter McBride, the women’s quilting guild, Conchita Malone, Nia-Evans Johnson, James Bradford and the Jonesboro Police Department for helping make these events so much fun and rewarding for our youth,” said Spike.

One good turn deserves another. Those who made “Loopin in the J” turn into a wonderful “Give away Day” also deserve recognition. Big props to all for making this holiday season very special for the kids of Jackson Parish .

Enjoy the pictorial below!

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