Photo by Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune | Case Spencer of Tulsa, OK was one of the children to receive a toy during the “Barney Cannon Smile Run” for Operation Santa Claus. BSO deputies were joined by Shreveport Police officers and firefighters during their visit to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Shreveport.

The Bossier Sheriff’s Office is busy spreading holiday cheer throughout the community.

Last week they visited Shriners Hospital for Children in Shreveport to deliver toys and smiles to patients. Then, they passed out more than 450 food boxes to elderly and needy families in Bossier Parish.

BSO deputies were joined by Shreveport Police officers and firefighters during their visit to Shriners Hospitals for Children. These first responders presented Christmas gifts to two dozen children during the “Barney Cannon Smile Run” for Operation Santa Claus.

One of those recipients was six-year-old Case Spencer of Tulsa, OK. Case and his family came to Shriners so he could have surgery, one of many he’s had resulting from a genetic syndrome.

His mom, Alecia Spencer, was overwhelmed with emotions as Case was presented with a brand new remote controlled race car.

“There just aren’t any words,” Alecia said as tears filled her eyes. “He loves all things that go fast and anything with wheels.”

Operation Santa Claus operates with the generosity of the public, who donate the gifts and monetary contributions to help support the children. Lt. Bill Davis said the direct interaction with the children leaves a lasting impression on the agencies and personnel involved.

We get to come here as law enforcement officers and firefighters and do exactly what this was created for – we get to put a smile on their faces,” Davis said. “We are doing this as a blessing to them, but I can tell you that we are more blessed when we leave here.”

Davis added that the community has been the heart of this operation through generous gifts, donations and continued support.

The reality is that there are people living among us that are not as fortunate. There are some that may be living on hard times, who may be having some family or job issues. We don’t want to see any child go without a present for Christmas,” Davis said. “This is an opportunity to give back to others. The community here in northwest Louisiana is so giving. They have supported this program and many others for years. That is a huge testament for the kind of people who live here.”

Deputies and Posse members delivered the special Christmas boxes as part of Operation Blessing to ensure who are less fortunate in the community are able to have a good Christmas meal.

Thousands of canned goods and non-perishable food items were donated to help build the special food boxes. The food was donated through collection efforts by local businesses, community organizations and students in Bossier Parish schools.

Bossier Schools Superintendent D.C. Machen said their yearly holiday food drive aligns with the helping hearts initiative they implemented several years ago.

Photo by Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune | Mary M. Williams of Bossier City excitedly looks through the food box she received from the Bossier Sheriff's Office.
Photo by Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune | Mary M. Williams of Bossier City excitedly looks through the food box she received from the Bossier Sheriff’s Office.

Mary M. Williams of Bossier City was surprised to receive a food box. She excitedly looked through the box of food and was so thankful for the gift.

Green beans are my favorite vegetable,” she said. “I always make a coconut cake to take to the common room for our Christmas party. This is just wonderful.”

Brookshire’s provided the boxes and supplied a coupon for a free hen in each box. Operation Blessing provides food to families throughout the year, all with donations from giving people in the community.

Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington thanks the community for their continued support of Operation Blessing, adding “the smiles on the faces of those families who receive the food will send a message of why this program is so important.”