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Lord, please throw some beads to STARC | Parish News of St. Tammany


As revelers prepare for Mardi Gras in hopes of scavenging beads, STARC of Louisiana is asking the catchers (or collectors) of all these precious Mardi Gras gems to donate their loot to keep STARC’s Beads program afloat.

The Bead Recycling/Resale Program offers STARC employees a wealth of benefits, such as: B. Professional training, a regular paycheck and the good feeling that comes with performance and contribution as part of a work team.

The North Shore-based non-profit organization supports and employs individuals with developmental disabilities, teaching those customers how to clean, organize and repackage pearls, which are then sold to swimmers for $45 per bag of crawfish.

Unfortunately, STARC’s Beads program was another casualty of the COVID pandemic, and the organization hopes the community can help the group recover.

The situation is so dire that bead program coordinator Cindy Sanders said STARC has sold out all the beads this year and is having to put potential buyers on a waiting list. In order to replenish STARC’s inventory and fulfill more orders, STARC is asking for donated beads of all sizes and colors.

“Even though sales have doubled from last year, we’re still 50% below pre-COVID sales,” Sanders said. “Our donations this year can’t even be compared to last year’s, again down about 50%. Apparently the Krus weren’t throwing like they did before COVID, and people didn’t participate in parades like they did before the pandemic.

Baham says STARC is accepting beads now, immediately after Mardi Gras, and throughout the year so customers can immediately begin preparing beads for next year’s Mardi Gras season.

“The people with developmental disabilities who are employed through our Mardi Gras bead recycling program absolutely love their job. It makes them feel important and helps them become independent,” said Mark Baham, Executive Director of STARC.

With all pearls sold out this year, Baham is encouraging businesses to organize pearl fundraisers. He also asks parade-goers to look out for the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Department “backdrop float” at the end of North Shore parades and toss their beads when he passes.

There are also year-round outdoor bead drop-off boxes at two locations: STARC at Slidell at 40201 US 190 East and outside of the Mandeville facility at 1705 Viola St. To collect donations, call (985) 641-0197, ext. 310.

For more information on STARC’s services and programs, visit