By Jessica Wettig
On Thursday morning, Oct. 11, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Southern Illinois (RSVP) traveled to all 12 counties to deliver stuffed toys to police departments. These included the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, Vienna Police Department and Buncombe Fire Department.
RSVP Director Amber Anderson said this program began at a 9/11-anniversary event. They asked community members to donate stuffed toys to be given to emergency responders, so that they could be used as a comfort mechanism in the event of a traumatic event for a child.
These events could include a house burning down, or a parent getting arrested.
Anderson said this event started small, but the response was massive. Senior centers, unemployment agencies, colleges, assisted living facilities and many other types of places gathered donations—sometimes making games out of who could donate the most.
“It got really big really fast,” said Anderson. “It’s amazing.”
RSVP gathered 800-900 bears, filled 39 trash bags, and there are still donations coming in.
For more information, contact Anderson at 618-985-8311.