Cops We Care
Cops We Care donates stuffed animals to police departments to use to create positive interactions with children.
Hoover Tactical Firearms will be a drop-off point for the next several weeks for stuffed animal donations to Cops We Care, a project that provides the toys to local police departments to give to children they meet on patrol.
Bessemer resident Meredith Asher is the force behind Cops We Care. The idea came about seven years ago, when her church, Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Homewood, had too many stuffed animals left over after an annual rummage sale. Asher made some calls and connected with the Birmingham Community Policing and Revitalization division to donate these leftover toys.
Officers can carry the toys in their vehicles to comfort children after a wreck, a parent's arrest, a house fire or other scary situations. The BCPR, she said, has used the toys not only in emergency situations but also to give away in low-income areas of town "bridging the gap between the community and the police."
Hoover Police Department has twice received donated toys from Asher, but this latest donation drive will be distributed to other departments.
Hoover Tactical is a regular donation spot for Cops We Care, along with Alabama Power, Rojo, Sneaky Pete's downtown, Our Lady of Sorrows and Innovation Depot. Asher said she leaves a drop-off box at Hoover Tactical four times a year, and hopes to have the box there about six weeks beginning Jan. 26.
Asher said she hopes "that if a child is afraid or scared, that it comforts them."
"I think sometimes kids are scared of policemen. The only time they see police is when something bad happens," Asher said.