Arctic air brought more than cold to a gaggle of Caddo Parish students and their principals Monday, December 19, 2016.
They braved the cold in the garden center of the Walmart SuperCenter on Westport Avenue to embrace the spirit of the Christmas holiday season to accept bicycles. These were distributed to underprivileged students through the Volunteers for Youth Justice and the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office in coordination with Caddo Parish Schools.
“We had an anonymous local benefactor who, in the Christmas spirit, wanted to see kids who would not be able to have bicycles get some bicycles,” said Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr. He got in touch with Volunteers for Youth Justice and Caddo Parish Schools, and then approached Walmart.
“Walmart has been great,” Stewart said. “They got the bicycles ready for us and gave us some discounts so we could have 100 bicycles here. We’re very happy for the children. We wanted to plant some seeds in their lives so they could grow and be happy and enjoy Christmas like all children.”
The recipients were underprivileged students chosen by the principals of 10 elementary schools selected by the Volunteers for Youth Justice. Principals from Turner, J.S. Clark, Oak Park, Summer Grove, Summerfield, E.B. Williams Stoner Hill, Northside, Creswell, Caddo Heights and Atkins elementaries were on hand with two students each, a boy and a girl, standing in for each school’s 10 recipients.
“This is another example of the collaborative relationship we have between the School Board, the DA’s office and now Walmart,” said Kelli Todd, executive director of Volunteers for Youth Justice. “We’re happy to be part of these children’s lives and their Christmas.”
Caddo Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree said his system “looks for so many opportunities to give. We are appreciative there will be more children waking up on Christmas morning with a beautiful brand-new bike.”
The Walmart SuperCenter on Westport was happy to be part, said its general manager, Mandy Patrick.
“It’s random acts of kindness like this that make you really appreciate the people in your community,” she said of the anonymous business benefactor. “We thank everyone involved for helping us put this together.”
“It means the world to a lot of people who are having hard times right now,” said J.S. Clark Principal Ruby Scroggins, who was there with students Richandra O’Neal, 11, and Zahquel Davis, 10. “Some parents work two and three jobs and this is a big help for them.”