Plenty of teddies for people with problems

Plenty of teddies for people with problems

teddies-webCaption: Photo by James A. McBride

Bishop Dennis Sullivan and Camden Police Chief J. Scott Thomson stand behind one of many stuffed animals to be donated locally.








Walk into the office of Msgr. Michael Mannion, director of Community Relations for the Diocese of Camden and chaplain for the Camden Police Department, and one of the first things you’ll notice is the teddy bears.

In a city that can be dark and dreary for many young and old, the community leader knows these stuffed animals can bring comfort to the needy.

“We welcome the generous gesture of America Responds With Love. This gift will help lighten the hearts and soothe the pain of so many, young and old alike,” Msgr. Mannion said.

The nonprofit organization America Responds With Love recently donated the items.

After the Newtown, Conn., shootings  in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which claimed the lives of 26 people, individuals and organizations throughout the country responded by sending stuffed animals and comfort pillows to those families in Connecticut.

After the needs of the 26 families affected were met, the Newtown community made the decision to donate the overflow to America Responds with Love.

In turn, the nonprofit decided that the items would go to a number of hospitals, police departments, social service organizations, and other organizations that help the needy across the county.

A tractor-trailer took items from Newtown to the Bronx in New York, and then to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph Church in North Plainfield, N.J.

Bob Cavanaugh, a volunteer at the Camden Police Department, picked up the stuffed animals at St. Joseph Church and brought them back to Camden.

The teddy bears will be sent to the Camden Police Department, the Volunteers of America, and police departments in Wilmington, Del., and Philadelphia. These organizations will then distribute the stuffed bears where there is a need.

“We believe Americans who generously donated the stuffed animals and comfort pillows will find that using these products to people truly in need in Camden and in other communities will be a fitting way to remember the lives lost in Newtown,” said Richard McDonough, president and CEO of America Responds with Love.

The Camden PD is no stranger to teddy bears, Msgr. Mannion said, as their “Toys for Tears” program has provided stuffed animals for emergency vehicles and personnel, to be given to accident victims and

victims of violence, especially children.

If any trucking companies or volunteers are available, and could transport stuffed animals and comfort pillows from Somerset County, N.J., to Camden and to Valley Forge, Pa., call 321-AMERICA (321-236-7422).


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