Minden firefighters go to bat for St. Jude kids
Choosing to build a schoolhouse as a raffle item for the Minden St. Jude Auction has allowed Minden firefighters to do two things: raise money for St. Jude kids and honor the person who first kicked off the St. Jude playhouse tradition – Cora Lou Robinson.
"This is one of the big items at the St. Jude Auction," said Jenny Mourad, who is the wife of Minden's Fire Chief Kip Mourad and oversees the building of the playhouse. "This is our second year to build the playhouse, and we are honored to be a part of this great effort."
Last year, the department chose to construct a playhouse in the style of a fire station. This year, a schoolhouse has been chosen.
"A schoolhouse was chosen to honor the lifelong work of Cora Lou Robinson, as a teacher in Webster Parish who involved thousands of local schoolchildren in the fund-raising efforts of the local auction over the years," Mourad said. "She oversaw the building of many wonderful playhouses built over the years as a beloved educator for Webster Parish schools.
"Her tireless efforts to involve children in St. Jude's cause has been instrumental in the success of our local auction," she continued. "Because she involved so many children in the fund-raising, many of these children have grown up to be wonderful supporters and volunteers for the auction."
The department has chosen to name the 10' X 12' schoolhouse "St. Jude Elementary School of Hope."
"There are so many surprises in this year's playhouse," Mourad said. "The schoolhouse will have a loft, be cable TV ready and have a plug on the outside to connect to the homeowner's property to make it fully electric inside."
The playhouse is sided in vinyl, has a shingled roof, eight functioning windows, and a cupola will be added after the school is transported to the civic center later this month.
"A beautiful solid black cast iron bell in the cupola was donated by a bell maker in Washington state, and it will be furnished and decked out for creative play," Mourad said. "It is because of generous people and businesses that we are able to build such a wonderful playhouse at such a low cost – which means more of the money raised goes to St. Jude."
Most of the materials for this year's playhouse were donated; however, there are still some costs involved.
The playhouse built by the department last year was valued at $15,000, raised $26,000 but cost only $3,000 to build. The department's goal this year is to build the playhouse with as few expenses as possible and to raise more than $30,000.
Once moved to the civic center, the winner is responsible for having the playhouse moved to its final location.
Donations to offset the construction material costs can be sent to: Minden St. Jude Auction c/o Jenny Mourad, 336 Braeburn Glen Dr. Minden, LA 71055 – checks need to be made payable to St. Jude and a receipt will be sent after the close of the auction.