Saturday, December 24, 2016

The WPA saves Christmas in Louisiana

Above: Discarded toys awaiting repair and distribution during the holiday season in New Orleans, Louisiana, ca. 1935-1943. Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.

From the January 6, 1937 edition of the The Monroe News-Star (Louisiana): "The WPA toy shop project was started November 30 for the purpose of collecting, making, and repairing toys for distribution to children of the parish whose belief in a Santa Claus would have been cruelly shattered unless the home project had been instituted. It was sponsored by the city of Monroe and began operating with 14 WPA workers and five volunteers. Toys were collected by Boy Scouts, schools, individual donations, the Capitol theater, members of the American legion and the Kiwanis, Rotary and Lions clubs. Broken toys were repaired and repainted and made to look like new." ("Report Given On Toy Shop")

New Deal projects like this were a win-win-win situation. Unemployed workers got jobs in the WPA; toys were recycled (thus saving landfill space); and children from low-income families had a brighter Christmas.    

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