The Assess the Need program got a boost recently with donations from two area businesses.

Cox Communications presented a $2,500 grant to the school supply campaign, its first award through Cox Charities, an employee-funded organization.

On Tuesday, Menchie’s held a fundraiser, donating all of its proceeds from a special $5 cup it offered.

“Each year, Assess the Need helps thousands of students in Livingston Parish receive the school supplies they need to be successful in the classroom,” said Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor, sponsor and founder of Assess the Need.

“Each year, we are faced with the challenge of meeting a growing need, and each year we are blessed to have generous community members and businesses step forward and help,” Taylor said.

Last year marked Assess the Need’s 16th consecutive campaign, helping nearly 3,000 students as the 2016-2017 school year began.

The charitable organization was called back into action just days later when the Great Flood of 2016 hit on Aug. 12-13.

Taylor said the program immediately began collecting donations and distributing school supplies and materials to students and schools.

“We are very grateful to employees of Cox Communications for investing in our students, who are the future of our parish; especially at this time when so many families are still hurting from the loss and devastation of the floods in August,” Taylor said.

“We are so grateful for our partnership with our local Menchie’s locations,” Taylor added. “It’s the willingness of our local businesses and community members to support our program and the students of Livingston Parish year after year that allows us to be successful.”

“Even in difficult times, our community remains strong,” he said.

Cox’s employee-driven campaign, “Give Where You Live,” launched last fall.

It stipulated that dollars raised in each market, through payroll deductions, were earmarked for programs in those markets. 

Livingston Parish is one of six parishes covered by the program.

“Cox Charities is both funded and guided by employees,” said Anthony Pope, senior vice president and region manager for Cox Southeast region.

“A local team of 12 dedicated employees read through every application and determined how the dollars would be invested back into the communities we serve.

“Our company and our employees are passionate about supporting programs that positively impact where we do business,” Pope said.

Meanwhile, Menchie’s Denham Springs location was one of five to take part in its fundraiser, according to Travis Hood, Menchie’s franchise owner and manager. 

Hood added, “We chose to work with Assess the Need because of the tremendous work they do to assist local students in need.” 

“We take pride in giving back to our communities and what better time than now given the hardships the Livingston Parish communities are facing due to the recent flood.”

Assess the Need also received donations from Menchie’s vendors, Scott’s Dairy, Dawn Foods and Letica.

According to Pope, more than $42,000 was distributed by the Baton Rouge area in the form of Community Investment Grants and Innovation in Education Grants.   

For information on Assess the Need, visit www.assestheneed.com or www.Facebook.com/AssesstheNeed.  

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Kevin Fambrough is a reporter at the Livingston Parish News. He can be reached at kevinf@livingstonparishnews.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @fambroughkevin.

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