Gresham Police officers deliver senior-made care packages to distraught kids

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Gresham Chief of Police Robin Sells, middle, was happy to accept 250 stuffed animal and blanket bundles for her officers to give to local children.A few weeks ago, Gresham Police officers had to take two children into state custody.

A 4-year-old girl and her 18-month-old sister were left unattended for seven hours while their mother was passed out from drug use. The children were eating from the garbage and were wandering a busy Rockwood street by themselves.

When an officer found the girls, they had the perfect gift to calm them down. In the back of the police cruiser were two stuffed animals bundled with their own blankets. The older sister said she was "excited because the blanket smelled so good."

"I think it's surprising for the community when these big burly officers pull out a blanket and bear for the kids," said Police Chief Robin Sells. "That moment can make things a little bit better for them."

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The seniors at Courtyard Fountains put together the packages during weekly meetings. The bundles have been put together by seniors at Courtyard Fountains for the past seven years, providing officers with something to give children to help calm them during what can be scary and confusing times. On Thursday afternoon, Sept. 13, the seniors gave 250 stuffed animal and blanket packages to a thankful contingent from the Gresham Police Department.

Lisa Snider, with the Gresham-Barlow School District, helps organized the weekly gathering at Courtyard Fountains. The group comes together on Wednesday nights to put the bundles together, sewing the blankets and picking out the best animal to pair with them.

"Those meetings are an important night for all of us," Snider said.

Anyone who wants to support the program can donate fleece for blankets or stuffed animals to Courtyard Fountains, 1545 S.E. 223rd Ave., Gresham.

"Thank you so much to everyone who helps put these together," Sells said. "We hope this program continues."

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