Sun City group donates blankets, stuffed animals to fire district to comfort children

sbowman@islandpacket.comJuly 24, 2013 

Bluffton Firefighter Drew Bedingfield on Wednesday shows members of the Sun City "Sew What" Club where the blankets and stuffed animals the group donated will be stored.

SARAH BOWMAN — Staff photo Buy Photo

The Bluffton Township Fire District has one more tool in its arsenal to fight flames and respond to wrecks: packs of blankets and stuffed animals.

"We can have axes, and hoses and Jaws of Life, but yes, a stuffed animal and a great blanket is another tool in our toolbox to help us deal with a child," Capt. Randy Hunter said Wednesday.

The Sew What stitching and crafts club at Sun City Hilton Head presented the nine packs of blankets and stuffed animals to the fire district Wednesday at the headquarters on Fording Island Road.

"I am very excited about this," Battalion Chief Todd Harvey said. "Comfort makes a big difference with a child; it's the little stuff to get their minds off the injury or the trauma of what just happened."

Six women from the Community Project group -- an offshoot of the Sew What Club -- were at the station to present the packs. During the past two months, the group's 40 members gathered donated items and fabric from the community and the God's Goods Thrift Store at 53 Persimmon St.

Much sewing was involved, as the members specialized the blankets with different colors for boys and girls and different sizes for younger and older children.

The group made nine packs, one for each of the district's eight engine companies, plus an extra to have on hand. Each pack contains four blankets and four stuffed animals.

"This is truly a community effort, and it is our way of giving back to those who serve us," said Deb Johnson, head of the Community Project group and a board member of the Sew What Club.

Harvey isn't wasting any time putting the gift to use -- the packs will be on the trucks starting Thursday.

Johnson and Harvey hope the effort continues. Johnson said that as the packs get used, the group will provide more blankets and stuffed animals to the fire district.

"We want to continue to help," Johnson said. "We all have a soft spot in our heart for helping children, especially those who have been in something traumatic like a fire or wreck."

Johnson said the Church of the Cross' God's Goods Thrift Store has a labeled container in its store for those who want to donate.

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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