BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputies got to play Santa Claus on Wednesday. The sheriff's office and constable's office donate toys to thousands of the families in need across the parish each year.
It's a 20 year old tradition. East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputies bringing Christmas to people in need. People like Carolyn Sloan, who cannot afford to stuff stockings or pile gifts under her tree this year.
"Their parents are not around right now, and this is the first thing they've ever asked us for was bikes," said Sloan. "As you can see my husband is disabled, and we didn't even know if we were going to be able to get them anything."
Sheriff's office spokesperson Casey Hicks says the sheriff's and constable's offices started collecting and donating toys back in the 1980s. Since then, they've been able to bring holiday cheer to nearly 3000 children each year.
"It's something that we do really to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. We want to let these kids know that law enforcement is not just here when something is wrong. We're here for the good things as well," said Hicks.
Hundreds of children who live in around Healing Place Church's Dream Center will have a happy Christmas morning too. EBRSO donated a trailer full of toys, everything from stuffed animals to baby dolls, for the center to give away.
"With the economy the way it's going, we saw that the need was almost bigger than what we could handle. But we know that God anything. And because of that and because of these partnerships, we're able to bless so many more families," said Terry Franks with Healing Place's Dream Center.
For Carolyn Sloan's family, Christmas morning will now be full of smiles and cheers when her boys see the one gift they asked for sitting under the tree.
"I hope everybody has a Happy New Year and a Merry Christmas like my grandchildren and us is going to have," said Sloan. "Thank you officers. I appreciate it."