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The soft bundles of comfort will be donated to Gresham Police to give to kids experiencing trauma

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT - Fifth-grade students at North Gresham Elementary School work on a soft wrap for a blanket buddy. Students at North Gresham Elementary School pitched in to make some "blanket buddies" for the Gresham Police Department to hand out to children who may be traumatized when police enter their lives.

Blanket buddies are plush stuffed animals, wrapped in a large, soft fleece blanket. The blankets have to be cut from fabric and finished by cutting and tying the edges.

"Many of our students were able to connect this project to their own personal experiences with tragedy or hard times and recognize that a small gesture of kindness can bring a lot of comfort," said Tracy Klinger, principal at North Gresham. "Many were kissing and hugging the bears to fill them full of love as they wrapped them for the project."

Last week fifth-grade students at the school at 1001 S.E. 217th Ave., crafted the blankets and wrapped up the comforting bundles.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT - Blanket buddies are ready to go to the Gresham Police Department. Officers will hand them out to kids in tough situations. The students learn a lot with this community service.

"Through this project students practiced team work, further developed their sense of empathy and compassion for others and were empowered by the act of giving," Klinger said.

Comforting the community's children by making blanket buddies is a tradition in the district. Staff members at the district office have made blanket buddies for Gresham police for eight years.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT - The materials for the cuddly bundles of comfort were donated, and students were able to put together 50 buddies. The school community and some first- and second-grade students donated the stuffed animals and fabric for the blankets.

"It was a team effort and we will be able to donate approximately 50 blanket buddies to our partners at the Gresham Police Department," said Klinger. "Students ... were excited to support other children in this way."

The Blanket Buddies will be presented to the Gresham Police Department at a school assembly at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT - Doing a good deed can be fun, as this photo attests.

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