FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Fort Wayne Police Department has received 350 teddy bears, which officers will gift to children who have suffered some sort of trauma or crisis.
“Teddy bears are a symbol of peace,” donors say.
The police department said Monday the Indiana Sikh Outreach Mission and the Sarbat da Bhala charity recently donated the stuffed animals. The groups modeled their program after a similar program started by Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal of the Houston Police Department, who was killed in the line of duty.
The Sarbat da Bhala charity’s goal is to impact the world around them. “The name of our organization is Sarbat da Bhala, in literal translation it means the betterment of all of humanity. We are asking not for the betterment just for our community or our people, or certain sect or religion. We’re saying the betterment of all of humanity,” Simranpal Singh says.
“We want them to have a good association with the police department and once you have that connection, it’s long lasting in a child’s mind,” Krishan Singh with the Sarbat da Bhala charity says.
The teddy bears have been given to each of the Fort Wayne Police Department’s four quadrant outposts. Patrol officers can hand out the bears to children they see as in crisis and in need of them, the department said.
“Giving them something to think about it’s distracting from the actual incident and comforting as well would really help lessen that traumatic experience,” Captain Kevin Hunter with FWPD says.
Officer Ben Young with FWPD who has given a bear to a traumatized child says, “usually they’re crying or upset or they just seem like they need some comfort. So if we’re able to go to our car and grab a teddy bear and give it to the child, that’s a huge comfort to the kid.”
“The FWPD thanks the Indiana Sikh Outreach Mission and the Sarbat da Bhala charity for their generosity and kindness through this donation to help children who might be in need of comfort at a difficult time,” the police department said in a news release.
The Sikh Outreach Mission and the Sarbat da Bhala charity plans to continue this partnership and gifting teddy bears to police departments throughout the area.