BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A 10-year-old girl gave Bossier sheriff's deputies a fluffy surprise Monday when she donated 150 brand-new, stuffed animals to the office.
Julianna Gouthiere, her father, Joe, and her 11-year-old brother Joey said they were donating the toys so deputies could hand them out to children in the community.
"She's a young girl with a big heart," Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington said.
It's an idea Julianna came up with when, at age 6, she heard about a distressful experience her mother went through more than 25 years ago.
"When my mom was 13, she was in a car accident with her dad," Julianna said. "They were on a motorcycle ... . But at the scene of the accident, a firefighter gave her a stuffed animal."
That led the girl to start Julianna's Bear Share.
Her organization has been collecting stuffed animals from individuals, organizations and businesses over the past four years.
The stuffed animals are intended to help children in tough situations and to "Geaux Show Love" to them when they most need it.
Julianna and her family have collected and given out more than 12,000 stuffed animals in more than six states.
She says it's her way of sharing God's love to others.
"Julianna understands at such an early age just what it means to put others first," Whittington said.
"These stuffed animals she and her family donated will go to help comfort children who have been traumatized in our community. Our deputies deal with young people in some very difficult times, and a stuffed animal can put a smile on any child's face."
The sheriff said his office also has offered up its Viking Drive substation as a dropoff point for others who may want to donate new or slightly used stuffed animals for Bear Share.
To find out more about the program, visit its Facebook page, Geaux Show Love-Bear Share & Geaux Green, or its website, geauxshowlove.org.