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State DHS needs stuffed animals for children

An agency of state government is collecting stuffed animals for children in Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Services is collecting teddy bears and other stuffed animals for youngsters, until Feb. 15, according to Ravae Graham, a spokeswoman for the department.

The initiative is a part of the department’s annual “Bearable Hugs for Georgia’s Children” campaign.

The teddy bears and stuffed animals are for children, who are getting care at pediatric facilities, women’s shelters, law enforcement agencies and other organizations for youths throughout the state, she said.

“Our mission at Child Support is to put children first,” added Keith Horton, director of the division. “We hope the teddy bears will bring comfort, and put a smile on the face of a child who may be facing illness, domestic upheaval or other hardships.”

Individuals, and organizations, such as churches, schools and businesses, can participate in the campaign, said Graham. Stuffed animals will be received at any collection drop box in Division of Child Support Services locations throughout Georgia, she added.

According to the Georgia Department of Human Services’ web site –– http://dhs.georgia.gov –– the division has two locations in Jonesboro, Clayton County:

• At 1287 Spur, Highway 138, Suite 12, as well as at the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, Child Support Division, 9151 Tara Blvd., Suite 3CS01.

• Butts County has one location: 464 West Third St., Suite 105, in Jackson.

• Henry County has a location at 46 Sloan St., in McDonough.

The stuffed animals, said Graham, will be distributed to children during the week of Valentine’s Day.

She said more than 26,000 plush toys have been collected and delivered since the campaign began in 2008.

“It is really unbelievable how a little stuffed animal can help a law enforcement officer to calm a child involved in a tense domestic situation, or hospital personnel bringing comfort to a child brought to the emergency room,” said Greg Turner, supervisor for the division’s fatherhood program.