By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – Sometimes the smallest act of kindness can have the biggest impact. When a child is in a traumatic situation, a soft, plush, new stuffed animal can provide some measure of comfort. That is the whole point of the Teddy Bear Patrol.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s a collection drive of new stuffed animals that we will distribute throughout Colorado,” said Maureen Tarrant, President and CEO of Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

“We know that the flashing lights, and chaos of an emergency situation, whether it’s medical, fire, or police, can be kind of scary for kids, so how do these stuffed animals help?” asked CBSN Denver’s Makenzie O’Keefe.

“It’s been an incredible journey to understand the impact that these stuffed animals have had. And honestly, when we started this in 2017, I don’t think we knew, or the first responders knew what a difference this could make in reducing anxiety in traumatic moments in the lives of children and the stories that we have heard are so compelling,” Tarrant responded. “We have a family, right now, who Mom delivered the third child to the family, very prematurely and Dad and the two siblings have lived at McDonald House now for several months. They missed their dog, and so we gave them two stuffed animal dogs, and that has become their pet away from home. So, I think, the good that comes out of this is probably beyond all of our imaginations.”

(credit CBS)

In 2019, Teddy Bear Patrol collected about 4,000 new stuffed animals.

“I can assure you that there were more than 4,000 tragic events, or high anxiety producing events in all of Colorado involving children. So, I would say to you that there is really an unlimited number of stuffed animals that we need because we’re giving them to paramedics who respond to 911 calls, we’re giving them to police officers, firefighters, and we’re giving them to children when they come into the hospital,” Tarrant explained.

(credit: CBS)

Teddy Bear Patrol runs through August 28th. There are well marked donation bins in the lobbies of every HealthOne hospital, as well as, the CareNow sites. You can help a child heal by making a donation of a new stuffed animal in one of those bins. Then on Saturday, August 28th, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children will host a drive-thru community celebration. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., you can drive up and drop off your stuffed animal donation.

Libby Smith