Nonprofits pull together for teddy bear hunt

Nonprofits pull together for bear hunt

POCATELLO, Idaho - Many Southeastern Idaho nonprofit organizations are on a bear hunt, but it's not the type of hunt many people might be used to.

Instead, these organizations are on the hunt for a collection of teddy bears.

Ever since the All Under One Roof organization launched its community-wide collection of teddy bears this past month, numerous other nonprofit organizations decided to jump in and further the cause. One owner said she was excited about getting involved in the campaign once she heard about it.

"We've got over 100 members of our Community Services Council here in town and so they just responded and we ended up with a whole corner full of teddy bears," Home Helpers owner Teresa Nelson said.

The Community Service Council is made up of various non-profit organizations whose members have been working together with the All Under One Roof group in order to raise awareness and hope for children who have been taken from their homes.

These bears will be later given to the state and local police officers who will give them to children who need to be taken into another service's care because their current living situation is deemed to be a dangerous situation. A large portion of those bears will also be given to the Court Appointed Special Advocates program, which helps kids deal with the legal process behind their transfer between living situations.

CASA representative Michelle Muse said this teddy bear drive is personally meaningful to her because she has seen her fair share of kids who have had to be taken away from their parents with nothing but the clothes on their backs. She feels the stuffed animals in fact help these kids cope with the trauma of their bad situation.

"A child that is taken from their home in whatever circumstance is a traumatic situation and so having something to just hold and to look at for comfort for them means a lot," Muse said. "I think it will just make a bad situation a lot better."

The Council already collected more than 50 stuffed animals today alone, and All Under One Roof has reported to have collected a little less than 200 bears.

Other CASA representatives have said there are currently more than 300 children in the eastern Idaho program.

Follow Kaitlin on Twitter: @KaitlinLoukides

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