ELIZABETHTOWN — The Bladen Journal’s first-ever “Have a Heart Stuffed Animal Drive” concluded on Wednesday, surpassing every hope and expectation.
The collection of stuffed animals was an effort to benefit the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, but soon became an even bigger event as the community began to respond.
“We wanted to fill a large box with stuffed animals, but that quickly became overflowing,” said W. Curt Vincent, general manager and editor of the newspaper. “Plus, we were getting both large and small stuffed animals, so it was decided to steer the larger ones to another group.”
When the stuffed animal drive concluded, a total of 275 fuzzy, cute stuffed animals of all kids had been donated by the community — 200 smaller stuffed animals and 75 large ones.
The 200 small stuffed animals were then donated to the Sheriff’s Office for deputies to have available when they respond to calls that involve younger children; the 75 larger stuffed animals are being funneled to the Elizabethtown Police Department for similar use.
“It’s our hope that these fluffy friends will help to soothe a child’s heart during a rough time for their family,” Vincent said. “And it’s all because of a caring community that responded to a simple plea for new and gently used stuffed animals. We couldn’t be more surprised, happy and grateful to everyone who donated.”
The Bladen Journal hopes to make the “Have a Heart” event a regular one every February.