NewsPasco County


Wesley Chapel woman leads effort to help first responders support kids with stuffed animals

Posted at 4:29 AM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-07 06:09:25-05

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A Wesley Chapel woman is working to bring help to first responders who assist kids in crisis situations.

Denise McGovern collects new stuffed animals to give to first responders who go to fires, crime scenes, crashes and more where children are often there hurt and confused. The goal is to help calm the children down with a small stuff toy.

“My daughters were really upset and one of the police departments went in their trunk and got them each a teddy bear," she said.

McGovern said the teddy bears helped calm them.

First responders are often purchasing the animals with their own money, McGovern said, and that's one reason she says she wanted to step in. She said this is a need they often have, but most people in the public just don't know about.

She's delivered several dozen stuffed animals so far to Pasco and Polk County first responders and is looking to expand her efforts.

“While police and fire literally risk their lives out there, here they can make a great little impression on a child. I know it did with my kids," McGovern said.

If you'd like to help, she encourages people to purchase brand-new stuffed animals that are small or medium sized and take them to their local police station, fire station or sheriff's office station. They need to be new for health reasons, McGovern said and on the smaller side because often there isn't a lot of room to carry around large-sized stuffed animals in the trunks of emergency vehicles.