ELIZABETHTOWN — Only mere hours remain in the Bladen Journal’s first-ever “Have a Heart Stuffed Animal Drive,” an effort to benefit the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office. But already the donations have exceeded initial hopes.
“It’s really been overwhelming,” said W. Curt Vincent, general manager and editor of the newspaper. “We hoped to fill a large box here at the office — and it’s pretty good size — but the community has responded and not only filled the box within the first three weeks of the drive, but stuffed animals are now spilling over the top.”
The “Have a Heart” effort will conclude at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
Recently, the Bladen Journal staff welcomed Becky Taylor, who brought a number of stuffed animals, as well as Colly Extension Club members — Dorothy McKoy, Helen Hollis, Marie McKoy, Andra Newkirk, Jean Thornton and Barbara Jean Autry — each of whom brought stuffed animals to the newspaper.
After the collection wraps up, all of the smaller stuffed animals will be presented to the Sheriff’s Office for deputies to have when they respond to tragic situations involving children. The larger stuffed animals will be presented to Bladen County Hospital in early March.
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.
“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.