BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – A pair of Buffalo police officers are helping families in need place gifts under their tree this holiday. Each year, officers Sheila Suggs-Barrons and Valerie Shropshire buy and wrap gifts for families in the community they serve.
“We’re just trying to spread some sort of help as best we can,” Suggs-Barrons said.
They work in the city’s E-District located on Baily Avenue. Many of the gifts are bought with their own money and with the help of other officers in the district.
“I like to be able to help other people and I feel a sense of that this is what I need to do,” Shropshire said. “I feel like I’m blessed and it’s nice to be able to help other people.”
Suggs-Barrons and Shropshire have been doing this for 21 years and say this year came with a challenge because of the pandemic.
“Usually on Black Friday with all the money that we collect and we really get a big bang for our buck,” Suggs-Barrons said. “This year we couldn’t shop on Black Friday. We made due with what we could.”
More than a dozen families will be receiving their gifts this weekend, but the officers say it doesn’t stop there.
“If a police officer goes on a call and he sees a family that might be struggling we ask them to give that families information as well, and we try to make something happen for them too,” Suggs-Barrons said.
“It’s nice to know that we can give back to where we serve and to have the support of everybody behind us helping us out,” Shropshire said.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.