N.S. group collecting teddy bears for Syrian children

N.S. group collecting teddy bears for Syrian childrenimage

02 Dec 2015

Teenagers from Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley are doing their part to provide small comforts for Syrian children.

They’re collecting teddy bears; they hope the bears will serve as reminders of safety for kids who have seen so much danger.

“(Syrian children) have been so scared and have gone through a lot,” said volunteer Spencer Reeves.

They started Teddy Buddies for Courage as soon as they heard Canada planned to accept 25,000 refugees.

Organizer Tanya Olscamp says their efforts ramped up after the Paris attacks.

“I was reading things on Facebook and seeing a lot of negative and fear-based messages out there,” said Olscamp.

So she gathered her children and their friends, asking what they thought they could do.

“I used to be scared of the dark when I was younger, and I had this teddy bear that used to help me,” said one volunteer.

They agreed the stuffed animals could provide tiny comforts.

Gerry Mills, the director of operations for the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, says it’s a wonderful idea. She says her organization will be putting together a list over the next couple of days of other items they need, but says many Syrian children have never had toys.

“These children have absolutely nothing, they’ve seen atrocities and trauma and experienced things that hopefully none of us will ever have to imagine in this lifetime,” said Olscamp. And behind every bear, a story.

“One woman, her daughter passed away, and so the teddy bears were hers,” said Reeves.

Donations can be made on Main Street in Middleton until Dec. 10, or at the NSCC Akerley campus until Dec. 8.