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Ashlynn Broussard teaches her daughter Caroline about the gift of giving.

The Gift of Giving

Two families in Vermilion Parish are giving extra thanks this holiday season following a single mother’s desire to help those families in need.
Ashlynn Broussard not only wanted to make families smile for Thanksgiving, she also wanted to teach her young daughter about the gift of giving, especially during the holidays.
“I want my daughter Caroline to know how important it is to not only make people smile, but to give to those in need whenever you can,” Broussard said, “As a young girl, you don’t really get to see and understand how hard it is to afford a lot of things and that the holidays are especially hard for some families; if you can help, help.”
Broussard reached out to her friends and followers and asked them to private message her the story of a family who was in need of food for a Thanksgiving meal. “It’s not their fault most of the time that they can’t afford to cook a meal for Thanksgiving. I didn’t want anyone down in the dumps during the holidays, so I did what I could to bless these families,” Broussard said. “That could be us at any given moment.”
Those families who wish to remain anonymous spoke about how thankful they are for Broussard. “I have always wanted to be able to afford to do this for families in need, but I barely got by each holiday and managed to afford a Thanksgiving meal,” one family said, “This year, I was about to let my children know I could not afford Thanksgiving this year and then this huge blessing came when someone special to me wrote to Broussard.” Both families said they were thankful if they were only blessed with a turkey for Thanksgiving, but knowing that Broussard went beyond that and furnished all the food they needed was an answered prayer.
“We didn’t know how we were going to make it, and I prayed for weeks for some type of miracle, and I want to praise Broussard as much as I can, there is nothing I could ever do or say to thank her enough.”
Broussard is passionate about spreading kindness and the importance of listening to God. “I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how I would have found families without embarrassing them. I was meditating one morning and God spoke to me and let me know that he would send them to me and to just ask; so I did.” Turkeys, ham, green beans for casserole, yams for candying, and meat for dressing, whatever these families needed, they received. Broussard brought her daughter along with her for the shopping journey to show her how smiles are made. Each item placed in the carts produced a sense of gratitude, love, and a heart rid of worry. “That is what life is all about, its about giving; whether it’s a smile, a dollar, or a hug, we all need it,” Broussard said. “These are human beings and I hope they have not just full bellies, but are full of smiles too.”
After Broussard reached out to her friends to adopt a family for Thanksgiving, other families were inspired to do the same. Kindness is contagious.
Thousands of families will go without a Thanksgiving meal every year. Be inspired to give during the holidays, everyone deserves the smile.
“Sometimes we are simply blown away and in awe by finding ourselves in the presence of God. Other times, however, even when we are participating in acts of kindness-complimenting others, writing a check to charity, donating time to a good cause-we are oblivious to the miracle of what is happening at that moment.”
Harold S. Kushner

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