The events that cause police to be called to a scene can be traumatic for a child, whether it’s a fire, a car accident, domestic violence, or even a death.
That’s why the Buddy Bag Program was started in the Fox Valley by the Heart of the Fox Valley YMCA, Flex Academy, and the Fox Valley Metro Police Department.
On Monday, the combined efforts paid off, as 1,540 Buddy Bags were delivered to nine area police departments.
Appleton, Kaukauna, Fox Crossing, Grand Chute, Fox Valley Metro, Neenah, and Menasha Police Departments, along with the Outagamie and Calumet County Sheriff’s Departments, all received 10 buddy bags per police vehicle.
Each bag includes an age-appropriate book, a coloring book, crayons, and a stuffed animal to distract and comfort a child in a traumatic situation.
“Children sometimes want to run the other way or they don’t want to look to an officer for help,” Sharon Johnson, Executive Director for the Heart of the Fox Valley YMCA told Local Five. “These bags will hopefully provide that opportunity to bridge that gap, build the relationship, gain knowledge, comfort a child when they’re in trouble.”
Sergeant David Lund of the Appleton Police Department says the department is excited to have the new resource at hand.
“Extending that gift, giving them something,” he said, “helps us to, in some cases, gather information, in other cases, learn how they’re feeling or what kind of assistance the children might actually need.”