ELIZABETHTOWN — Stuffed animals are usually available throughout the year, but during the month of February, they become quite abundant with Valentine’s Day smack dab in the middle of the month. So it’s a good time right now to find those furry little cuties — perhaps stock up on several types — and bring them to the Bladen Journal.
Throughout the month that has long been put aside for love, the local newspaper staff is hoping to spread that love from you through the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office to those children who may need it most.
When sheriff’s deputies respond to a call involving a family, whether it be for a domestic violence or a tragic fire, there are often children affected in a negative way. With that in mind, the Bladen Journal will kick off its first-ever “Have a Heart Stuffed Animal Drive.”
The collection will run Thursday, Feb. 1, through Wednesday, Feb. 28.
“We were looking for something to add to the early part of the year, following our Roger’s Wish and Empty Stocking Fund events,” said W. Curt Vincent, general manager and editor of the Bladen Journal. “We spoke briefly with Sheriff Jim McVicker back in November about a stuffed animal collection, and he was very receptive to the idea.”
After some logistical discussions, the “Have a Heart Stuffed Animal Drive” was fully born.
“What better month than February to hold such a collection drive?” Vincent said. “We know folks in Bladen County have a big heart for those in need, and there is hardly a greater need than to give some comfort to a frightened child following a tragic incident. A small, fluffy stuffed animal can do wonders in the arms of any child.”
The newspaper staff is looking for stuffed animals that are preferably new or incredibly gently used and are not particularly large — specifically those that are appropriate for children between the ages of 1 and 10. Almost any type of stuffed animal will be accepted and, should there be an abundance of donations, some stuffed animals may be funneled to Bladen County Hospital for children there.
The Bladen Journal will have a large box positioned in the front window to hold donations through the month of February. Then the contributed stuffed animals will be presented to the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office in early March.
“This is a perfect opportunity for school groups, church youth groups, business groups, individuals and civic clubs to participate,” Vincent said. “The donation of one stuffed animal or 50 will certainly go a long way in this county.”
Anyone with questions can call 910-862-4163 during regular business hours.