South Fayette police looking to serve, protect and comfort
Police departments protect and serve communities, but South Fayette Township police are taking that a step further.
The department, at the urging of Chief John Phoennick, is asking township residents to donate new or gently used teddy bears through Nov. 1. Police officers will keep some of the donated stuffed bears or other animals in their cars to hand out to children who may need some comfort. The stuffed animals will also be handed out to children who visit the department.
“We run across children who have been traumatized by a car accident, or their parents may be fighting,” Phoennick said. “They have anxiety and fear but want to feel safe.”
The teddy bear drive, which was launched Aug. 3 and announced over social media, already has been successful. Andrea Iglar, the township’s community development director, said 20 stuffed animals were donated the first day.
“People responded immediately,” she said. “We had one person donate a new bear which still had a Walmart receipt. We have also been asked if other stuffed animals can be donated, as well. They can. They just need to be small enough so a small child can carry them.”
Phoennick said he got the idea for the drive, which has been dubbed Project Teddy Bear, from the Knights of Columbus Order of St. Barbara Catholic Church in neighboring Collier Township, which is making a similar effort to benefit not only his department, but Collier police, as well.
Stuffed animal donations can be dropped off at the South Fayette police station, 515 Millers Run Road, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Iglar said if the department continues to do well with the donations, some animals may be donated to other local police departments.
“The community has always been very supportive of us,” Phoennick said.