Group makes teddy bears to give to law enforcement

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Orange Grove Journal

Several Orange Grove children put their time and effort into helping others recently at Summer Bible School by creating teddy bears to distribute to children after they have suffered a traumatic experience.

The teddy bears are used by law enforcement, EMS and firefighting personnel to comfort children who are either victims of traumatic events or suffer from some form of abuse or neglect.

At the scene, first responders will have the bears on hand, which allows the child to focus on something other than the experience they went through and can go a long way to bringing them comfort during a trying time, law officials said.

The students represent United Church of Christ Faith Church in Orange Grove.

The bears will be distributed to the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department, Orange Grove Police Department, Orange Grove Volunteer Fire Department and Guardian EMS to use when the need arises.

JWC Sheriff Oscar Lopez said his department is currently out of the stuffed animals and praised the efforts of the young children and their important contribution.

"Whenever you give a little child something like this to hold on to, it really makes things better and puts the child at ease," he said. "By talking to the children, and letting them hold the toy, it calms them down and calms their immediate pain. These bears will benefit them emotionally."

OGPD Chief Arthur Rogers received several dozen bears on Monday from some of the young children from the church.

"When they feel upset, or things are out of control, that's when we use them. This gives them something to hold on to and comfort them," Rogers said. "Sometimes, children just need that little hug."

Three sisters, Kayla, Erin and Brenna Miller, along with their mother and Bible school instructor Lee Ann Miller, delivered the bears.

Each year the children at Faith Church complete a program that benefits others in a special way.

This year, instead of sending items to Africa or Mexico, as they have in year's past, the children decided to do something for those children close to home.

They created piggy banks and collected all the loose change they could find and than used the funds to purchase material to create the teddy bears.

Each was stitched and stuffed by hand, by the students in the summer Bible program.

"This is really a way for them to think outside of themselves and give back to others," Miller said. "The kids seem to grasp it more now because it's more local."

The church gives back in many ways locally throughout the year, whether it's for the American Red Cross, missions, the local food bank or Metro Ministries. Giving back to others is the large focus, Miller said.

Kayla agreed that it felt good to give back to someone else.

Miller said the children were so excited about the project they wanted to bring stuffed animals from home to give the department.

She told Rogers he shouldn't be surprised to find stuffed animals outside his door soon.