Every day deputies, police officers, firemen and EMS workers come into contact with families during difficult times. Often, the crisis involves small children who are in need of comfort and security.
With this in mind, Rev. Bill Dawson, who serves as the Chaplain for the Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department and pastors the Sistersville United Methodist Church, is spearheading a campaign to collect stuffed animals and blankets for children. "There are times when police officers and emergency workers come into contact with children who have been involved in traumatic incidents," he explained.
"The 'Emergency Pals' campaign will provide these children with something they can hold, cuddle and wrap themselves in to promote a feeling of safety in the midst of a crisis. It also gives us an opportunity to connect with the child on their level, and let them know we care and we are there to help."
This program thrives on the generosity of businesses and citizens. Anyone who wishes to donate stuffed animals or blankets, please note the needs of the department and the children receiving them.
The guidelines for blankets are as follows:
- Blankets must be new, whether homemade or purchased;
- The size should be no larger than larger than 38-inches by 43-inches. That way it's small enough for the child to carry around, yet large enough to wrap around themselves and snuggle in for comfort or a feeling of safety.
Stuffed animals should be:
- Soft so kids can cuddle them;
- New with tags still on them;
- No more than 16-inches tall so kids can get their arms around the animals and officers can fit them in their vehicles.
Donations can be dropped off at the following locations: The Tyler Star News, 720 Wells Street, Sistersville; Wetzel-Tyler Child Advocacy Center, 102 West Main Street, Paden City; or the Tyler County Sheriff's Office in Middlebourne.
For additional information, contact Dawson at 304-771-5161.