Mt. Pleasant Township teen takes on toy drive
A Mt. Pleasant Township teenager has taken it upon herself to help a national nonprofit complete its mission to help children feel safe in times of crises.
Olivia Darr, 16, of Mt. Pleasant Township is collecting gently-used, stuffed animals and other toys for Stuffed Animals For Emergencies (SAFE).
The 15-year-old organization — which is run completely by volunteers — collects various items such as stuffed animals, toys, books and baby blankets.
Those items are then given to children who have directly or indirectly experienced emergency situations such as fires, illness, accidents, neglect, abuse, homelessness and weather emergencies like tornadoes, floods and hurricanes.
Its members also donate items collected to other children's organizations, military organizations, libraries and nursing homes.
“The stuffed animals are basically the vehicle of what we do. We are trying to provide comfort to children in a traumatic situation and to a child in that type of emergency situation it's very much a comfort to them,” said SAFE National Director Jennifer Alloy of Leesburg, Ohio. “We provide stuffed animals to ambulances, police officers, firemen, children's services and homeless shelters. We even send them to soldiers overseas to give them to children as a way to bridge the gap.”
Darr said she got the idea to do a service project after attending the Hugh O'Brian Youth (HOBY) Leadership Program at Washington and Jefferson College this past summer.
“At HOBY they challenged us to do service projects of our own and gain community service hours. I thought collecting toys and stuffed animals for children in need would be a good idea,” Darr said. “I chose SAFE because it seems like a reliable, legitimate organization who truly cares about the people they serve.”
The teen began the collection this summer and, so far, she has collected about 300 stuffed animals for SAFE.
“To get the word out, I announced the collection at my church, and I received a huge response,” Darr said.
SAFE only accepts new or gently used stuffed animals. If the stuffed animals are gently used they need to be in ‘like new' condition and free of any tears, stains or odors, Alloy said.
“It takes a lot of initiative to do what she is doing and I think its really great that she decided to do this for us,” Alloy said.
Darr plans to end the drive around Christmas.
Once the collection is over, all of the donations will be sent to a local SAFE branch in Philadelphia.
Until then, Darr's parents, Mark and Brandi Darr, are letting their daughter use the basement of their home as a stuffed animal storage facility.
“It really amazed her dad and me. She came up with the idea and implemented it entirely on her own,” Brandi Darr said. We're so proud of her for thinking of others.”
For more information or to donate, contact Darr at 724-423-6484.
Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Customized cane stabilizes Mt. Pleasant Township man’s sense of hope
- Mt. Pleasant Medic 10 EMS takes technological leap
- Mt. Pleasant Township to distribute $61K to 5 fire departments
- Norvelt VFD donates equipment to Africa Fire Mission
- Donegal Township 2015 budget talks are postponed
- Mt. Pleasant Township family produces bumper apple crop
- Renamed Mt. Pleasant center offers expanded services
- Mt. Pleasant-area YMCA offers ‘Yoga Flex’ class
- Mt. Pleasant Relay for Life raises more than $80K
- Mt. Pleasant pictorial history book to be released next week