POSTED: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 5:15pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 5:39pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — The kids at Dalton Elementary had no idea what began as a holiday assembly would end as a huge, Christmas celebration with the Baton Rouge Police Department. Officers donated over 300 gifts to the students Tuesday, Dec. 18. And the excitement that filled the room and the smiles on their faces were priceless.
Marqayjah's excited about spending the morning with friends and family to celebrate Christmas.
“I'm with my school and my teachers."
But little did she know their Christmas celebration was about to come to life.
"To watch these children, many of whom are under privileged, receive something from us the police department," said Police Chief Dewayne White of the Baton Rouge Police Department.
With the generosity of the officers over 300 gifts were given to the students at Dalton Elementary, completely unexpected by the kids.
"Thanks for bringing us free gifts to Dalton Elementary," said Gerald Thompson, a student at Dalton.
Another student, Bradon Burns says, “I’m excited, thank you for giving me the present."
And along with the hundreds of gift wrapped presents, were ten bikes.
"To see the faces on those kids when they received those new bicycles i would trade it just wouldn't trade it for nothing," says Chief White.
NBC33 asked another student, Jeremy, why he was so excited and his response was,”Because I got a new bike."
And the Police Department really wants these kids to know that there are others who care about them, and their future.
"And I want to say that these kids are the key to Baton Rouge. They are our future and it's time, now, that we start investing in that future and letting them see that the police department and the people of Baton Rouge genuinely care for them and this is one way of doing that," noted Chief White.
And Marqayjah's great grandmother, Ida, even sees the impact this one little gesture can make on the children’s lives.
"They all just so happy just ecstatic this is great for them ya know really helps them to through life really helps them you know," she said.
The ten bikes were given out through a raffle. Each student had a ticket and they were drawn at random.
Chief White says they choose a school in a different district each year, so next year a school in district four will be picked to receive the gifts.
This is the second year the police department has done this and they hope it will become a tradition for years to come.