'Toast & Roast' Could Give $40k to Help Abused Kids

Efforts to help abused children will soon get a $40-thousand shot in the arm.  It's all thanks to the annual 'Toast and Roast 2007.'  And, all the laughs will help pay for some very serious services to help hundreds of kids.

The numbers are staggering: One out of four girls and one out of six boys will be the victim of sexual abuse across the U.S.  "And at the Gingerbread House last year in 2006 we served 462 child victims," said Jessica Miller.  She's the executive director of the Gingerbread House in Shreveport.

It is a non-profit agency which works closely with law enforcement, the courts and child protective services.  The agency's president, Denise Hughes explained, "instead of an abused child having to speak to ten, twelve, fifteen different people, telling them what happened to them, they're able to go to the Gingerbread House and meet with a forensic interviewer and have it done one time."

It's hoped that lessens the trauma by sparing the abused child from having to re-live the ordeal over and over again.  But all this takes money.  And that's why organizers came together to finish plans for this year's big fundraiser.  They met for lunch at Ralph & Kacoo's Restaurant on Old Minden Road in Bossier City.

"We need the money to keep operations, to keep the staff there; The highly trained staff that we have. The forensic interviewers, trained, well qualified. We have counselors on staff," added Hughes.

The person to be roasted this year: John Hubbard from AEP-Swepco.  Local dignitaries ranging from Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator to Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker will be doing the roasting.  Hubbard smiled before offering, "and my wife has even suggested she's going to provide her commentary."  Hubbard says it'll be worth every joke if it helps touch the lives of abused kids in a positive way.

'Toast and Roast 2007' takes place next week on Thursday, October 18th at Sam's Town Hotel and Casino in Downtown Shreveport.