HugPatrol is a new program by the Anne and Eli Shapira Charitable Foundation in Oregon that aims to help kids in distress by giving them stuffed animals.
The program is beginning from Beaverton, Oregon. The Foundation is giving out stuffed animals to policemen, firefighters and paramedics. When they respond to stressful situations, sometimes they involve children.
Local resident Robert Thompson says to KGW that he had an idea. He wanted to start help emergency teams comfort kids with stuffed animals. As we know, there are lots of similar programs for local counties. But Thompson is thinking bigger. He wants the HugPatrol to expand across the Pacific Northwest and eventually across the entire United States.
The HugPatrol program also features some unique touches. Each stuffed animal is brand new and put into a special bag. The foundation is keeping them until it gets a call from the agencies and emergency teams that they need more stuffies and it gives them out for free.
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“The specific thing about having a bear that’s the right size, in a plastic bag that can be easily handled by a police officer or paramedic? That’s really a niche we want to fill, and it’s exciting,” said Thompson.
Emergency responders also welcome the idea. “It allows us to be able to grab a teddy bear out of our trunk, and give them something to hold onto, give them something to hug, give them that little moment of comfort,” said Beaverton police officer Mike Rowe.
The Shapira Foundation has set up a special page in which you can donate for the HugPatrol program. Agencies can also use the page to apply for the program. If you think using stuffed animals to help children in stressful situations is strange, then you should read this article and then this one. Stuffies are actually an ideal way to help out.