Like many people in America and throughout the world, Kathy Varga watched with horror as the news unfolded about the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
On Monday morning, in a moment of quiet prayer and reflection, an idea came to the Curtice woman. “I don’t know if it was God speaking to me, but just knew that I wanted to – actually, needed to collect teddy bears for the kids at Sandy Hook.
“After all, what’s more comforting than a cuddly teddy bear?” she said. “I’d like to collect enough for all the kids in the school, along with the faculty and staff, as well as for the families of the children who died,” Varga said.
She thought she’d ask a friend or two to help her – maybe they could post it on their Facebook pages. She also mentioned it to Shirley Loofborow, owner of Shirley’s Carryout in Curtice.
Shirley was immediately on board, agreeing not only to provide a collection spot for the cuddly creatures, but also offering to take care of the costs of shipping the teddies to Connecticut.
News about the effort went viral, with word spreading quickly via word of mouth and local news reports.
Through Jan. 13, anyone interested in helping with the effort may drop off a new teddy bear at Shirley’s, 22571 Front St., Curtice.
“The goal is to collect about 700 bears,” Varga said. “I think it would be great if the students could keep the bears in their lockers or somewhere that they can serve as a reminder that people care about them and are thinking about them as they try to move forward.”
Any bears over and above the number needed for the Sandy Hook students will be donated to local police and fire departments, which often use the bears to comfort youngsters during emergency situations.