Bring us yourcolorful, fluffystuffed animals

The Bladen Journal is taking on a new endeavor for the month of February, and we’re hoping it’s one all of you can appreciate and participate in.

Our first-ever “Have a Heart Stuffed Animal Drive” officially kicked off on Thursday — though a few folks took the opportunity to stop in early with some bags of stuffed animals — and will run through Feb. 28.

The collection effort will benefit the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, giving deputies something to give children who may be going through a family tragedy like an accident, fire or, heaven forbid, domestic violence situation.

The month-long “Have a Heart” collection is being held in February because, well, it’s the month of Valentine’s Day and thoughts of love. We hope that will inspire you to think about others and offer a simple way to give something positive back to the community.

Think for a moment about a young child who is devastated over something terrible happening around him or her. A tiny heart is hurting; tears are streaming down a tiny face with uncontrolled boo-hooing; thoughts are racing through his or her young mind laced with confusion and fear.

But when a deputy’s hand reaches out with a fluffy stuffed animal the child can hug and keep as its own, the heart begins to mend; tears start to stop; and thoughts turn to comfort. And in that moment, your hand — as the giver — are also on that stuffed animal.

We have a large box in our front window just waiting to be filled with the overwhelming generosity of Bladen County that we have seen over and over again with previous collection efforts like “Roger’s Wish” and the “Empty Stocking Fund.” We hope to see folks stopping by this month with a single stuffed animal or bags filled with the furry little guys.

And little is the key word. We are looking for some of the smaller-sized stuffed animals that will be appropriate for youngsters up to the age of 10. And right now, most area department stores are filled with stuffed animals just waiting to be purchased — or, perhaps you have an attic or back room ready for some early spring cleaning that might have a few gently used, clean stuffed animals you’d like to pass along.

Contributions to the “Have a Heart Stuffed Animal Drive” will be accepted all month during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, at the Bladen Journal office in downtown Elizabethtown. We might even ask to take your photograph to help promote the collection along the way.

If you have any questions, please call us at 910-862-4163. And in advance … thank you so much!

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

“How can we expect our children to know and experience the joy of giving unless we teach them that the greater pleasure in life lies in the art of giving rather than receiving?” (James Cash Penney)