Store donates 'stuffed icebreakers' to Fla. officers
The stuffed animals will be used as a distraction for kids who are going through a stressful situation and don't understand what is going on
By Abraham Galvan
Northwest Florida Daily News
MARY ESTHER, Fla. — Two local law enforcement agencies recently received a generous donation of comfort teddy bears from Go! Calendar Games and Toys at Santa Rosa Mall.
The seasonal retail store sells Frankie the bear and donates them to local charities and organizations. Bernice Edgecombe, the store's manager, decided that the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office and Fort Walton Beach Police Department can put them to good use.
"They can carry the teddy bear around and give it to a child who is in a crisis situation," she said. "They are comforting, something to hold and serves as security."
Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Michele Nicholson said a stuffed animal is a good distraction for kids who are going through a stressful situation and don't understand what is going on.
"They give deputies a chance to relate with the child and become friends," she said. " They are stuffed icebreakers."
Edgecombe said they were able to donate about 40 bears to each agency, and plan to donate the next bundle of teddy bears to Fort Walton Beach and Mary Esther firefighters.
"We lose sight of the positive things first responders do for our community," she said. " They not only come to help, but also to comfort them (children). Now they can become a positive image for young kids."