July 19-- The Coral Springs Craft Guild recently donated over 80 comfort bears to the Coral Springs Police Department to use for children going through difficult situations.
The nonprofit organization promotes arts and crafts in the community through classes, workshops, art contests, art shows and scholarships, and also supports the community with various community service projects.
One of the more than 50 guild members came up with the idea to make the comfort bears. They contacted the police department and asked if it would be willing to use the bears, and they thought it was a great idea, said Shannon Schnuerer, the organization's community service chairwoman who has been involved with the guild for six years.
"It's just something to hold on to when their lives are traumatic. It's theirs and they get to keep it, and it's for support," the Parkland resident said.
"I think it's awesome they are doing something that will actually benefit the community. They will go to officers and whether they come in contact with a child having a difficult time or a traffic stop, they can give the bear to make them feel better and have a brighter day," said Frances Capre, community involvement officer with the Coral Springs Police Department.
In addition to donating the bears, the guild is also volunteering at the police-run summer camp for underserved children in Coral Springs, he said.
"They're helping us with our program and they get to see the kids and help the kids," Capre said.
They will be doing a painting and jewelry project for about 150 kids, Schnuerer said.
This is the first time the organization donated bears to the police department and Schnuerer said they try to do a different community service project each year.
In the past, they have made fleece blankets for teenage mothers, port-a-cath pillows for a cancer clinic and baby blankets for Pass the Blessings Foundation. They also have helped SOS Children's Villages, the library and the Women in Distress of Broward County shelter. This year, they also made goodie bags for firefighters and police in honor of First Responders Appreciation Week, Schnuerer said.
"We go and look what we can help with. Some is craft related. We also collect toiletries and clothing for the homeless. We're always looking for new nonprofits to get involved with," she said.
The Coral Springs Craft Guild also gives out scholarships to high school seniors. Members judge the art submitted and it's open to any Coral Springs resident or anyone who attends a school in Coral Springs or Parkland, said Marilyn McMullan, the guild's vice president.
The Coral Springs Craft Guild is open to anyone who enjoys crafts, regardless of where they live.
McMullan, who lives in Pompano Beach, has been involved since 1995 and enjoys the camaraderie among the members, she said.
"We have a good time together and enjoy doing stuff together at the meetings and outside of the meetings. It's really good to get together with like-minded women, learn new crafts and enjoy their success in what they are creating. It's a real nice feeling," she said.
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