Wanted by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office: Stuffed Animals

Wanted by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office: Stuffed Animals

Donations needed for children at domestic violence resource office

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Via Pexels.com

One of the bright spots at Montgomery County’s Family Justice Center—where victims of domestic violence seek emergency help—is the stuffed animal cabinet.

But it’s almost empty.

Every child that comes to the center, often in a time of distress for one of their caregivers, leaves with a stuffed animal and a book.

The goodies, which can bring comfort during difficult times, come from donations. And, at the moment, donations have nearly dried up, Sheriff Darren Popkin said Tuesday.

“Our cabinet’s getting pretty low,” he said.

Since 2009, more than 10,000 people have been helped at the center in Rockville, which provides legal services, counseling and emergency help to victims of domestic violence.

Most of the victims who come in are women, and many of them bring their children, Popkin said.

“They’ve got to get the kids out of these difficult conditions,” Popkin said.

When children arrive, they are greeted with a stuffed animal and a book. There’s a playroom where kids can mingle while their parents receive services.

The Bar-T youth program donated more than 300 stuffed animals to the Family Justice Center in 2017. Photo via Darren Popkin.

The Family Justice Center also provides emergency toiletries, water and other basic supplies to domestic violence victims, with occasional seasonal drives for items like winter clothing and school supplies. The center has accepted large stuffed animal donations in the past, including more than 300 stuffed animals provided by the Bar-T youth program in March 2017.

“Everything we have there is the result of the amazing, amazing concern in our community,” Popkin said.

Popkin said the center gives away about 25 stuffed animals each week.

He put out a call on social media this week for donations: new stuffed animals that would be holdable and huggable by young children.

“As long as it’s new, it will be loved and it will put a smile on a child’s face,” he said.

Donations can be delivered to the Family Justice Center at 600 Jefferson Plaza, Suite 500, Rockville, MD 20852. For questions or to coordinate a delivery, call 240-773-0444.

The Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation also collects donations for the teddy bear program on its website.

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