ISF, teaming with the Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS), North Central Division, sponsored a Teddy Bear Drive collecting new stuffed animals for donation to the Child Protection Team (CPT) program. CPT provides examinations, evaluations, and forensic interviews for children suspected of being abused and/or neglected. When a child is going through an evaluation, be it physical or psychological, the CPT team members give the child a new stuffed animal, which offers comfort in a time of confusion and trauma.
ISF collected 100 stuffed animals. ISF’s Teddy Bear Drive lead, Lauren Kemper, performed weekly counts of the teddy bears and stated, “I found that my daily stress from a hectic work day was alleviated. Just the act of holding a teddy bear was enough to relieve my tension. I can only imagine what it can do for a child in real need of comfort and support.”
Because the Drive was held through Valentine’s Day, many of the stuffed animals donated were more vibrant than the typical brown teddy bear. Some teddy bears were striped pink and purple, some had red hearts and white fur, some even with bowties and heart shaped noses. Ms. Kemper commented, “Everyone at ISF was enthusiastic about this teddy bear drive. I think we realized the effect a soft, plush toy could have and recognized the magnitude of what this drive could certainly do for a child in need – and that’s honestly how our small staff was able to come up with 100 teddy bears and stuffed animals of all shapes, colors, and sizes.”
Lauren Kemper and ISF CEO Cyndy Loomis met with CHS’s Director of Development, Jennifer Albaugh, to deliver the 100 teddy bears to the CHS in March. Ms. Albaugh extended an invitation for them to participate in the monthly tour of the CHS facility and while on the tour explained these stuffed animals can be distributed in as little as a month. Ms. Albaugh pointed out that CHS is always collecting new stuffed animals to donate to children.
To learn more about Children’s Home Society of Florida or to discover volunteer opportunities to help children and families in our community, contact Rebecca Amnott, Development Specialist, at (850) 219-4206 or Rebecca.Amnott@chsfl.org.