By David McLain
Baylor students and faculty are reaching out to help the children of the city of Bastrop find a semblance of normalcy amid tragic circumstances.
Baylor’s department of service and community partnerships began the Bears2Bears Initiative this week.
Campus Kitchen is sponsoring the drive.
The initiative is an attempt to gather as many teddy bears as possible for the children affected by the Bastrop County Complex Fire.
The fire started on Sept. 4 and is listed as still active by inciweb.org, an incident information system.
Though the fire is 75 percent contained, it still has a high growth potential, inciweb.org said.
The Bastrop Country Complex Fire has resulted in the loss of 1,554 homes, according to inciweb.org.
Rosemary Townsend, director of service and community partnerships at Baylor, was trying to figure out a way to help the children of Bastrop experience some stability in life as they continue to be affected by the fires of the past month. She discovered the Bastrop High School mascot is a bear.
“Fifteen hundred families have lost their homes. If we equate that to the number of children in that kind of environment, that is a situation to a child that takes a large piece of security away from them,” Townsend said
Townsend said an email from a friend who lives is an administrator in Bastrop ISD, made clear the urgent need of donations to the Bastrop community.
Townsend noticed the very end of the listed items was toys.
She was aware of other organizations providing avenues for physical needs to be met, but most organizations did not address the emotional needs of the Bastrop community’s children.
“We decided we would do the toys because so many children have lost toys to play with, and also for comfort. We just thought that if the children had something like a teddy bear it might be a piece of security in their life,” Townsend said.
Lindsey Warner, Public Relations and Marketing intern for the department of service and community partnerships, said the attachment children form with toys allows the teddy bears to comfort them.
The Baylor department of service and community partnership is partnering with the Bastrop County Ministerial Alliance to provide the children with the donated toys.
Donations will be collected until Oct. 14.
Teddy Bears can be donated directly to the Service Learning office within the Student Activities office in the Bill Daniels Student Center.
The department has created a page on Facebook with updating information on the drive.