Calgary police take bears into custody
The Calgary Police Service has taken thousands of small, stuffed bears into custody after they were found trespassing at realty offices across the city.
MaxWell Realty reported the bears to police after finding them inside their offices early on Friday. It is believed some of the bears may have been squatting there almost an entire year, and there were so many of them that officers had to request assistance from the Girl Guides to remove them all.
The scene may seem strange, but it is actually an annual tradition as today the Girl Guides of Canada, Kids Help Phone and MaxWell Realty are once again partnering with the Calgary Police Service to help comfort young victims of crime through the 16th annual Share Your Bear event.
“Share Your Bear is such a heartwarming event and I am always amazed at the generosity of Calgarians,” says Sergeant Brent Hutt, with the Calgary Police Service Victim Assistance Unit. “Thanks to people taking the time to donate these stuffed animals, we can give children who witness or are the victims of crime something to hold as they process what they have just experienced.”
Each year, the Calgary Police Service’s Victim Assistance Support Team gives almost 5,000 stuffed animals to children and youth who experience trauma as a result of crime. The stuffed animals are donated by Calgarians, collected by MaxWell Realty, prepared by the Girl Guides, and distributed by Calgary Police Service Victim Assistance Unit volunteers with the number for Kids Help Phone attached on a tag.
“Kids Help Phone is always open for kids in every moment of crisis or need. We’ve been a trusted ally to kids for over 27 years,” says Sylvia Whitworth, Director of Kids Help Phone in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. “We want every child to know they can access our service no matter where they are or what time it is. By tagging the bears with the Kids Help Phone website address and toll-free phone number, we are ensuring those kids that are the most vulnerable know that we are there to give them the support and confidence they need to move beyond any challenge they’re facing.”
Calgarians can donate new or gently-used stuffed animals to the Share Your Bear program by dropping them off at any MaxWell Realty office. Visit www.MaxWellRealty.ca for a list of locations.
“Five thousand stuffed animals, 5,000 smiles; that’s the goal,” says Johnny Alain, Vice President of MaxWell Realty Canada. “It’s safe to say that comforting victims of crime and tragedy is not easy. That’s why we feel it’s so important to participate in this program. Whether the stuffed animals bring a smile, or just an ounce of comfort, even for a moment, it’s all worth it.”
The stuffed animals that have been collected over the past year will be presented to the Calgary Police Service on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, at the Girl Guides of Canada Headquarters.