Women’s Institute packages help firefighters comfort children

Victoria II Women's Institute members Elizabeth Adams, left, and Valerie Smith give donations consisting of a book, blanket, and stuffed animal to Greater Napanee firefighter Randy Cook. The donations will be given to children dealing with traumatic situations. (Adam Bramburger/staff)

Adam Bramburger

Beaver Staff

Napanee’s Victoria II Women’s Institute members continue to do their part to ensure children facing adversity or tragedy have something to comfort them in times of trouble.

Last Friday, W.I. members Valerie Smith and Elizabeth Adams handed over five bags, each filled with a cute stuffed animal, a children’s book, and a handmade blanket to Greater Napanee firefighter Randy Cook as part of their annual Teddy Bear and Quincy Book Project

Smith explained the effort started in 2016 as part of a provincial initiative. The Women’s Institute of Ontario had held a contest for members to write best book about a bear named Quincy. About a decade after the contest, they encouraged branches to take Loreen Ambler’s winning book and donate it to help children in need by packaging it with other comfort items to give away.

Though  Smith said the book is now out of publication, the 11 members of the Victoria II and the members of other W.I. branches continue the tradition annually.

“They’re given to different causes — firefighters, hospitals, some schools,” she said.

Adams enjoys putting together her packages for children. She’s an avid crocheter so she makes her own quilts and blankets among other items.

“I always have something on the go,” she said.

Adams also shops for books and stuffed animals and enjoys co-ordinating them  based on a common theme, perhaps finding a book about a similar animal to the one she includes.

Cook said the firefighters really appreciate having the donations annually as they can really help families in difficult situations.

“They ride on the first pumpers,” he said of the stuffed animals. “It promotes mitigation. This shows the families that somebody cares.”

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