DU QUOIN -- The women's ministry of the First Baptist Church of Du Quoin recently completed a project it hopes will comfort children in the community.
About 18-to-20 church members constructed Teddy bears with the aid of a sewing machine and fabric and then donated 50 of them to the fire and police departments Thursday. The city's first responders will then distribute the bears to children who become displaced from their families or home for any number of reasons.
"We feel that this is something God led us to do," said church member Debbie DeMent, whose husband, Randy, is a retired firefighter. "Our group wanted to help out the community. And we came up with the idea of making these bears. Teddy bears soften hearts. We hope children in their time of need will be comforted to have one."
DeMent said the women's ministry is a relatively new outreach group. "We've only been together for about a year. One of our other projects was blessing bags. The idea was to fill a bag with necessities and then pass it along to someone in need of a blessing," DeMent said.
Fire Chief David Durkota said he appreciates the group's sincere offering of the Teddy bears.
"Anytime some group in the community wants to help others, especially children, we appreciate that generosity," Durkota said. "These bears will offer a measure of comfort to the children who receive them."
The chief explained that in the event of a fire, for example, families sometimes lose everything in their home and may not have good enough insurance, if any insurance at all, to replace clothing, toys and other important possessions. He said that for a child to get a Teddy bear helps a child get through a rough period.
"It's a very nice gesture," he said.