By Andrew Kelleher
Lansing Star staff writer
It has become standard for disaster relief responders from the American Red Cross to bring stuffed animals when they answer a call for help.
Troop member Ava Brewer, 8, said, “those kids might really need one of those bears right then. It might make them happy.”
The American Red Cross hopes the stuffed animals give children who have just watched all of their personal possessions be destroyed, the feeling that people do care about them and want to help.
The Brownies from Laingsburg showed they care by responding with their time and effort. The bears cost about $10 apiece to make at Build-A-Bear Workshop. Each girl donated $5 toward the fee while their fundraising efforts from throughout the year helped cover the rest.
Troop co-leader, Kayal Schaaf said, “I hope this project taught them that even children can make a difference in people’s lives. I also hope this project encourages them to always think of others.”
That isn’t all they learned. When the girls went to the Red Cross to present the stuffed animals, they participated in a two-hour workshop teaching them how to be prepared for disasters and other emergencies.
One of the Brownies, Emily Schaaf, 8, said, “I learned in a fire to get out and stay out. Don’t go back in, even for a pet.”
The Mid-Michigan Red Cross offers many disaster preparation courses, like the one the girls participated in, free for the general public. To find out more vist their Take a Class webpage.
The final community service project the girls are working on this year is the revitalization of McClintock Park in Laingsburg. So far, the Girl Scouts have raised $500 for the project. That money will go to the purchase of dog bowls for water, a dog-waste disposal bag system and a tree for the park.
For information about how to donate stuffed animals to Lansing’s Mid-Michigan Red Cross or to get involved, contact communications and public relations representative Leslie Fitzwater at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Red Cross responds not only to domestic disasters, but also international ones. After the recent earthquake in Japan they made an initial pledge of $10 million in financial support. Fitzwater said, “that money is going mostly to sheltering and all that entails like food, blankets for people to sleep with and search and rescue.”
To donate visit the American Red Cross: Donate Funds webpage. Make sure the tax deductable donation is designated to go to the Japanese earthquake fund.