Deputies, students deliver a ‘Blessing’

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Bossier City resident Betty Moore and her dog, Taco, were surprised Tuesday morning by Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Deputies and volunteering Bossier Schools students, including Airline’s A.J. Spillers, who were delivering food for Christmas dinner as part of the Operation Blessing food pantry.

Glenda Wright of Bossier City hadn’t given much thought about her plans for Christmas dinner until a deputy with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office knocked on her front door Tuesday morning.

Within minutes, she had concocted a menu from a single box of donated nonperishable food items.

“I didn’t know what I would have for Christmas,” she said, fighting back tears as she looked through the box. “I love carrots and this is some good cornbread mix too. French style green beans are my favorite. All of this is just great.”

Then she saw a bag of sugar and cornbread stuffing sitting in the corner of the cardboard box and emotions took over. Wright, with tears in her eyes, praised God for the blessing she had just received and for the people who generously opened their hearts and donated the food so she and her canine companion, Blondie, would have a hearty Christmas meal.

“God will bless you all so much for this,” she said cheerfully. “Thank you.”

Deputies and Posse from the Bossier Sheriff’s Office delivered 500 boxes throughout Bossier Parish Tuesday morning. The donations are part of a year-round initiative called Operation Blessing, a food pantry program that provides elderly residents and families in need a box of food each month.

Boxes contain a variety of items, including bags of dried beans and rice, cornbread mix, sugar, and an assortment of canned food items. To make this Christmas donation a little more special, each box contained a coupon for a free hen, courtesy of Brookshire’s.

Lt. Bill Davis, public information officer for the Bossier Sheriff’s Office, said Operation Blessing relies solely on community donations to fill the 500 boxes each month. The Bossier School System was recently a big contributor to the cause, donating more than 18,000 canned goods and non perishable items to Operation Blessing.

Superintendent D.C. Machen said their yearly holiday food drive align with the helping hearts initiative the school system implemented this school year.

“We are very blessed and we see this as a way to pay it forward,” Machen said. “We see it as a way of teaching more than just academics, but how we can play a bigger role in the community through service.”

Airline junior A.J. Spillers was fortunate to see the school donations go full circle by actually delivering the boxes to residents with a BSO deputy, a first for any student in Bossier schools.

“It’s nice to know we’re going to make a difference,” Spillers said. “I’ve been blessed in my life so it’s nice to give back.”

Betty Moore of Bossier City couldn’t believe the amount of food that was in the box Spillers delivered to her home. Moore said she plans to spend Christmas with her family, but wanted to take a dish with her to the dinner.

“I won’t get my money until after Christmas so this is a blessing,” Moore said.

Now she plans to take a dish with her to the family meal next week.

“Everything will get used,” Moore said. “I needed rice and sugar. I’m proud of it…really proud of it.”

Operation Blessing began 20 years ago with a vision from former Sheriff Larry Deen. Through community support and donations, including the Bossier Parish School System, Brookshire’s food stores as well as personal and private donors, The Bossier Sheriff’s Office is able to provide meals to families in Bossier Parish who would otherwise go without.

“It’s a tradition and one that shows the true, giving nature of the community,” Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington said. “We want everyone to have a very Merry Christmas.”