Local Teen Collecting Comfort Critters for Kids

For kids going through rough times, sometimes something as simple as a stuffed animal can make a difference for them. That is a need that one Okawville student wants to do something about.

Drew Bauer, left, of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department and Okawville Police Chief Steve Millikin hold donated stuffed animals.

Megan Cook, a junior at Okawville High School, is spearheading Comfort Critters as a community service program.

“I heard about this program where police give out stuffed animals to children during traumatic events, and I thought it would be a great project to do,” she said.

Comfort Critters will be given by police to children affected by violence, car accidents, and other events which might cause the need for comfort.

Anyone wishing to support the effort can donate a new or lightly used stuffed animal at CBI Foods, Dollar General and First National Bank in Okawville. Small or medium-sized stuffed animals are preferred.

Those animals will go to the Okawville Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Illinois State Police.

Cook, who is the daughter of Tim and Cathy Cook of Okawville, will pick up the donations when the boxes are full.She will vacuum pack the animals to keep them clean for the officers.

Donations will be accepted now through February 16.

Cook says she knows how comforting stuffed friends can be. When she was young, she  had a stuffed dog that was her favorite toy. Now, she wants to make sure kids going through troubling times have something that might bring them a little comfort.

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