By Mamta Lulla

Watching your mom taken away on a stretcher and to a hospital is no picnic for any adult, let alone a child.

For children, it might just be one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives. But we all know it’s something that happens from time to time.

When emergency responders come across a child in such a situation in some parts Tri-Region, they hand out Stony Plain Lions Clubs’ Trauma Stuffies.

They must act as children’s safety blanket – because the Stony Plain Fire department and Alberta Health Services Emergency Medical Services usually ask for more toys when they run out.

Joan Lubbers, secretary at the lions club said they purchase stuffed toys – which includes stuffed animals, stuffed teddies and put scarves on them. The medium-sized ‘stuffies’ are about six to eight inches in size.

The latest batch of stuffies was donated late November.

She said each stuffie helps during a traumatic situation as it helps children calm down. The hope is each stuffed animal can distract children during stressful times when emergency responders get involved.

Although stuffies are donated as needed, the club usually ends up buying and donating them about once a year.

“We replenish them whenever they run out,” said Lubbers.

Usually, about 100 toys are donated each time – 60 of them go to the ambulance services and the 40 goes to the fire department.

Both emergency responders serve Stony Plain and Parkland County area and that’s where the stuffies usually end up.

Although the program has been running since the mid-80s, it took a break, before it started up again about 10 years ago.

Each stuffed toy comes with a scarf that states ‘donated by the Lions Club of Stony Plain.’

The program costs the club around $400 to $500, but the price tag is worth it, said Lubbers.

She said the lions club is fortunate enough to be able to afford such unique programs.

She encourages participation and new members at the Lions Club of Stony Plain. She said new members bring new ideas to the table. New members also mean more projects and programs can be initiated in the community.

If someone in your family received a stuffie and you would like to share your experience, please email us at info@parklandcc.ca.

This free blog was brought to you by Achieving Community Together — a tri-region citizen inquiry group. This is your community navigation site and we encourage you to participate. All errors, corrections, and additions to this site should be directed to content manager Natasha Rychilik at info@parklandcc.ca.