Imagine being a child and it’s the worst day of your life. You’ve been in a car accident, or your house was on fire, perhaps you witnessed a parent being arrested, or you watched a violent domestic dispute unfold before your eyes and you’re now separated from your parents. If you’re a child who has been caught up in these kinds of traumatic events, you will likely end up in the back of a police car or other emergency response vehicle. While it could of course never completely make up for the pain you’re feeling, finding a teddy bear to hug and hold in the police cruiser could certainly help give some very real comfort. That is the impetus behind a teddy bear drive being spearheaded by City Councilman Dan Gilman in cooperation with the Pittsburgh Police.
Gilman says the idea came to him from seeing it modeled on television and in movies. Turns out, he was not alone in thinking this would be an important initiative.
“We’ve had incidents in the past where officers have expressed the desire to have something to comfort children who are scared, afraid or confused,” says Emily Schaffer, assistant public information officer for the City of Pittsburgh. “We hope that this teddy bear drive fills that void and provides a positive connection between our officers and the community.”
Right now, the City of Pittsburgh is collecting stuffed animals to help console kids during such emergencies. The bears will be tucked into the back seats of emergency responder vehicles. Due to health concerns, the bears must be new and due to space concerns, they should be smaller than 12 inches in length. The bears will be collected until the end of this month.
Here is a flyer if you’d like to share it with your friends/groups. Drop off sites include:
City-County Building, 414 Grant St, 5th floor
Central North Side
Zone 1 Station, 1501 Brighton Rd
Zone 2 Station, 2000 Centre Ave
Zone 3 Station, 830 E Warrington
Zone 4 Station, 5858 Northumberland
Zone 5 Station, 1401Washington Blvd
Zone 6 Station, 312 S Main St
Police Headquarters, 1203 Western
Jewish Community Center 5738 Forbes Ave
Jewish Community Center 345 Kane Blvd