The Lloydminster Sexual Assualt Services Project Little Bear toy fundraiser is not only returning for another year, it’s growing in support.
The event, which will run from November 18th to December 18th, gathers community donations for youth and families going through judicial and police processes involved with abuse crimes. After going through these processes, LSAS provides these youth with comfort items like toys, blankets, and stuffed animals for the younger people. For teenagers, they give things like board games, electronics or beauty products, depending on their interests.
LSAS Advocacy and Engagement Director Tammy-Lynn Adamson says these small items can be a big step for these children to have a return to normalcy.
“When you hear back that the child isn’t letting the blanket go, that they’re keeping that blanket with them, even when they’re watching TV at night, that’s pretty impactful. It’s so grounding, it lets them be a kid again, and they’ve got some choice.”
The project was the brainchild of Let’s Walk the Talk Founder and mental health advocate Paul Laberge, who brought the concept to LSAS last year. Laberge explains that his father, Marcel, was sexually abused and before taking his own life in 2018, had been planning to create a local initiative to help young survivors of abuse.
This inspired Laberge to not only begin fostering a community-wide discussion on mental health but also help the most vulnerable in the community facing abuse. He says that it’s an indescribable feeling to watch this grow from an idea two years ago to something which has grown and gotten more traction.
“Last year, when it was done, I didn’t realize what an impact it really is on these kids. They get these brand new toys they get to play with, blankets, video games. It really hits home once you talk to them about it. You don’t realize how big of an impact that our community is doing. So, I guess that’s exactly what I wanted, and I’m happy that it’s starting to take off.”
There will be twenty donation bins across the community for Project Little Bear over the next month. People are asked that all items be new if dropping off, and while there isn’t a set goal, they say any donation helps and they’ll be looking to refill their “Toy Room.”
Adamson adds that this event is important because it shows that the survivors of abuse, childhood or otherwise, could be anyone and by intervening and helping early, it can help get these people back onto a safe and healthy path quicker.
“We recognize that it happens to everybody, there’s no one gender, our one group, it’s everybody, and I think when we come together, all of us, and support something, it’s wonderful.”
Donations can be dropped off at Abbey Road, Addilyn Appereal, Cliff Rose For Clothes, Designer’s Choice, Furniture Gallery Lloydminster, Progressive Fitness, Coldwell Bankers, Live in Faith Church, Home Hardware, Motion Fitness, Boundry Motor Sports, Winners, Synergy Credit Union, Rolling Green Fairways, ES Laird School, Bishop Lloyd School, Avery Outreach School, Neilburg School, J.H. Moore Elementary in Lashburn and 106.1 The Goat Studios.