Three months into the new year and the Pittsburgh area has already been wracked by tragedy. Just this week, there was a fire in Bedford Dwellings. Another fire this month killed one and injured three. In a Homewood fire last month, three were killed.
But this week, Pittsburgh City Councilor Dan Gilman and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chief Cameron McLay announced an initiative to collect stuffed animals for children affected by these and other traumas.
The drive began March 17 and will run until April 30. The stuffed animals should be new, no more than 12 inches in height, and placed in a plastic bag when donated.
“We are launching this effort today so that Pittsburgh Police and other emergency responders have a way to comfort children affected by emergency situations,” Gilman said in a statement on March 17. “No one wants to imagine a scenario where a young child is affected by a fire, a medical emergency, or worse, but our hope is that this is one more way our City’s first responders can help care for kids affected by crisis and trauma.”
According to a release, donations can made at all Pittsburgh Police zone buildings, in the lobby of Pittsburgh City Council offices on the fifth floor of the City-County Building, and the Jewish Community Center’s Squirrel Hill and South Hills locations.
“Our Officers often encounter people when they’re having one of the worst days of their lives. When children are involved, it can be extremely difficult for them to understand what’s happening. We hope these stuffed animals provide comfort to them in tragic situations,” McLay said in a statement. “This is a great opportunity for the Police Bureau to partner with the community to make a difference. These stuffed animals will help the children in our community know that the community cares, and that Pittsburgh Police are here to help them.”
The Moose Lodge kicked off the drive with a donation of 100 Tommy Moose stuffed animals.