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Bearable Hugs campaign collecting stuffed animals for kids

COVINGTON - Children in crisis need all the comfort they can get, and the Bearable Hugs for Georgia's Children Campaign aims to help ease their pain.

The Georgia Department of Human Services' Division of Child Support Services is asking Georgians to participate by donating new teddy bears and other stuffed animals at collection points throughout the state.

The stuffed animals will be handed out to children receiving care at pediatric facilities, women's shelters, law enforcement agencies and other children's organizations in Georgia. In Newton, the Alcovy-Covington office at 4129 Mill St. will take donations through Feb. 15.

"Our mission at Child Support is to put children first," said Keith Horton, director of the DHS Division of Child Support Services. "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."

DHS is encouraging individuals, churches, businesses and other organizations to participate.

More than 26,000 stuffed animals have been collected and distributed since the campaign was launched 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 into the emergency room," said Greg Turner, supervisor for DCSS Fatherhood Program.

"These are just some of the many ways that the stuffed animals collected through the Bearable Hugs campaign will be used."