By Nichole Osinski | See the original article here.

It’s a simple idea — donate teddy bears to give to police officers so they can later give them to children.

But the meaning of the teddy bears can be very important for the children receiving it. For some children, police officers are present when there is a crisis situation and the toy is a way to provide a sense of comfort.

The people at the Countryside Lakes Assisted Living Community have been collecting new teddy bears in order to help Port Orange police officers have stuffed animals they can hand out.

Countryside Lakes Director of Sales and Marketing Kat Eversole said the drive started because someone had told her about the police officers giving out teddy bears to children. However, she was also told that the officers use their own money to buy the stuffed animals.

Director of Sales and Marketing Kat Eversole collects a teddy bear. Photo by Nichole Osinski
Eversole and her coworkers decided to do what they could and started asking residents to donate new teddy bears.

“We hope we can collect as many as needed,” Eversole said.

Public Information Officer Evan Doyle explained that while not typically associated with police work, an item such as a stuffed animal can be an invaluable tool for police officers.

“It is often the case that a police officer is present for some of the most difficult times in a person’s life and that can be especially true for children,” Doyle said. “Having a stuffed animal to give to an upset, injured, or scared child can be the first step in letting a child know that we are there to help and that they are safe.”

Donations are being collecting until Friday, March 23.

Teddy bears can be donated at CountrySide Lakes, 941 Village Trail.