For nearly a century, MacDonell Children’s Services has provided a refuge for children in need.

“Next year will be our 100th year anniversary,” said Kevin Champagne, executive director of MacDonell United Methodist Children’s Services. “We’ve been around for a long time.”

The charity organization has withstood the test of time thanks in large part to the volunteers who kept it going even during the roughest times, Champagne said. Two of them were honored Friday at the Houma Municipal Auditorium during the organization’s 34th annual Celebrate the Child benefit.

The banquet serves as MacDonell’s major fundraiser, Champagne said.

“Our board really supports this event,” Champagne said. “They help put it on by volunteering a lot of their time. It supports us in what we do. We partner with a lot of other nonprofits and are looking to evolve, grow and diversify.”

About 275 attendees gathered at the benefit to support the organization, which is a testament to the selflessness of the local community, Champagne said. Ticket sales and auctions help finance the group’s efforts to help foster children.

The group not only provides homes and protection for children in the foster care system, but also recreation, education, clothing and health care, which is why Celebrate the Child is so important to raising money for their mission, organizers said.

However, there were two attendees who received special attention Friday night. For 34 years the group has given out awards to recognize people who have gone above and beyond to help those in need.

This year’s Youth Activist Award went to 10-year-old Hayes Falgout and the Ella K. Hooper Award went to Ellen Daigle Doskey.

“The young man asked his friends to donate money to MacDonell in lieu of his birthday presents,” Champagne said. “That’s how we got to know him.”

For at least two years the St. Bernadette fifth-grader began requesting donations for MacDonell and the food bank from his classmates, Champagne said.

Doskey, who works as the lead appellate attorney for the Terrebonne Parish District Attorney’s Office, volunteers hundreds of hours to multiple organizations including The Haven, Tree Board, Girls on the Run Bayou Region and Terrebonne Parish Relay for Life.

“I’m very honored,” Doskey said. “I do my volunteer work not looking for any awards, but it’s nice to be recognized.”

Volunteers like Doskey and Falgout are the “heart beat” of the organization, Champagne said.

“For the awards we always find someone who volunteers a lot for the community,” he said. “Without people like Ellen and Hayes, we couldn’t do what we do.”

--Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 857-2202 or at dan.copp@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter@DanVCopp.