Salute the Badge: Operation Santa Claus spreads Christmas cheer

Salute the Badge

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Operation Santa Claus started in 1984, providing toys to children in need. Decades later, special elves continue to make Christmas bright.

If you don’t believe in Santa Claus, you’ve obviously never met Calvin Baker, Jr. He works year-round to make sure children are smiling during the Christmas season.

Baker is a training officer with the Shreveport Fire Department. He’s also the president of Operation Santa Claus, a non-profit partnership among Shreveport Police and Fire Departments and Town Square Media.

“It’s just such a blessing to give back to the community,” Baker said.

First responders collect and deliver toys to children who make Santa’s “nice” list, like those who will be spending the holidays at Shriners Hospital for Children.

“We try to bring some joy to them and try to relieve some pressure for that parent so they can just be concerned about their child getting well,” Baker explained.

“It’s super fun. I was not expecting this,” said Kayleigh Snead, one of the patients at Shriners. “Some kids are probably scared because they had surgery and stuff, but this probably makes them feel a whole lot better.”

No matter how much he gives, Baker says he’s the one who receives the best gift of all.

“When we deliver those toys on the fire trucks, those police cars, you see the joy on those kids’ faces.”

Click here to find out more about donating.

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