Peering out from her home on South Barbier Avenue in Thibodaux, Marsha Young was surprised to see Lafourche sheriff's deputies standing outside.
She wondered aloud what the problem was, but the deputies weren't there to make an arrest or ask for help solving a crime.
Instead, they had a bicycle – a Christmas present for her 14-year-old son. He was one of many children who received bikes Thursday through the Sheriff's Office's annual giveaway.
Young said the donation meant a lot.
"I'm disabled, and I just didn't have the money to buy them much with a fixed income," she said. "Anything to help my children, I really appreciate it."
More than 4,000 bikes have been distributed to children in need through the program, now in its 24th year.
The Sheriff's Office accepts donations of bikes and money year-round. Trusties repair and refurbish used bicycles, and any that can't be given away are sold to a scrap yard for cash to buy more bikes.
Sheriff's Lt. Brennan Matherne said many of the bicycles donated this year were new or like new. At least 150 bikes were set to be distributed.
The list includes some of the same neighborhoods each year, but also some deputies haven't yet visited for the giveaway.
"These economic times certainly have made it more and more difficult for families to provide, especially that big gift like a bike," Matherne said.
What makes the giveaway even better, he said, is children being home to receive their bicycles.
That was true for Thibodaux resident Sabrina Green's 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. Green said her son's old bicycle was stolen a few months ago.
"They wanted bikes, but I couldn't really afford them," she said. "I appreciate this a lot."
For Sgt. Jeff Prevost, said the best part of the giveaway is getting to show children a different side of the Sheriff's Office.
"I mainly like it because the kids don't get to see the police do this kind of stuff very often," he said. "It puts a good feeling on you."
-- Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at 448-7639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bridget_mire.