|Club members with Easthampton police officers|
The Community Service Club at The Williston Northampton School has collected over 400 new and used stuffed animals that will be given to children experiencing traumatic situations. The club teamed up with the Easthampton Police Department, which has agreed to distribute what they can to local children. Any excess animals will be given to other charitable organizations such as the Red Cross.
Senior Jeff Eichenberger, a boarding student from Midland Park, NJ, is the community service club president. He got the idea for this project because he had a pile of stuffed animals that were “no longer getting love” in his house. He researched what to do with them and found a group called Stuffed Animals for Emergencies (SAFE) that collects stuffed animals to be distributed by law enforcement personnel and firefighters to children in emergencies. Jeff says, “Though I myself have been fortunate enough to never have experienced such a situation, I found the concept of donation very appealing.”
Since there is no Western Massachusetts chapter of SAFE, and the club had decided they would like to make the effects of the collection accessible as locally as possible, they worked with members of the Easthampton Police Department, who agreed to take the donations. Jeff says, “This is a prime example to the giving nature of the Williston community, and I imagine many children will be delighted to have a companion in their time of need.”
From November 2010 through January 2011, a total of 408 stuffed animals were generously donated by Williston students, parents, faculty, and staff members.