Students donate hundreds of teddy bears to law enforcement

LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WHLT) – When a child is involved in a traumatic situation, responding officers need some way to comfort them.

438 children will be comforted by Lamar County Sheriff’s Office and Hattiesburg Police Department.

That’s how many stuffed animals the Junior Civitan Club at Oak Grove Middle School collected in just two weeks.

“We come up on a domestic situation or a wreck with a child involved, it just calms them down,” Sheriff Danny Rigel said.

Every officer in both agencies keep a stuffed animal in their patrol car just for 9-1-1 calls that involve kids.

“I’ve had little kids that’s gotten a bear in the past come back and say that little bear meant more to them, and they still got that little bear,” Sheriff Rigel said.

8th grader Sarah Ballard can relate, “I’ve actually been in a really bad situation when I was little and I ended up in the hospital…All these people would come around and I wouldn’t even know them…They’d give me bears and it really made a big deal to me…To this day I still have one.”

“I feel really honored because I like to know that because of me someone can be comforted in a horrible situation,” 8th grader Laundin Lang said.

The club’s goal was to collect only a hundred bears, but they easily surpassed.

“The one thing  I can definitely say is there’s nothing like seeing a child when there’s a measure of comfort for them, even if it’s just for that night,” Hattiesburg Police Department’s Lt. E. Allen Murray said.

The Junior Civitan Club would also like to thank Citizen’s Bank for their help with the teddy bear drive.

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