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Indy mom launches stuffed animal donation service

Pals On Patrol is a new organization based in Noblesville that collects stuffed animals for donation to local law enforcement. Animals are kept by police and fire departments or Child Protective Services offices, and given to children in times of crisis as a way to comfort. 

Talking with Megan Leahy, you’d never know she was on the brink of developing what could be the next big national non-profit. She’s cool and collected, and speaks so calmly about the mission of Pals On Patrol that you walk away thinking this is a decades-old organization. And perhaps in her mind it is: Having grown up the daughter of a police officer {and later entering the force as an adult herself!}, Megan’s family instilled in her early the value of giving back.
“My Dad started a community organization when I was 3. He purchased presents for low income families during the holidays and spent weeks making sure kids had presents to open. This was every Christmas during my childhood and I’ve never forgotten it… when my dad died two years ago, I needed a way to keep his memory alive.”
It’s with that background that Pals On Patrol – also lovingly abbreviated to ‘PoP’ in recognition of her dad – was born.
Why law enforcement? Why stuffed animals? “Police officers and firefighters encounter so many awful situations of domestic calls, abuse or other crises, often when children are at home. Having a stuffed animal or lovie of some sort that the officers can give kids creates an immediate connection of comfort and trust.”
Although organizations like this are available in California and Massachusetts, there is strangely nothing in existence in the greater Indianapolis area. One could say then that Pals On Patrol fits a very specific but gaping hole in our market. And Leahy hopes to fill that hole by providing every police car and fire truck in our region with a plush animal in the next year.
As Leahy continues to grow awareness of Pals On Patrol, she sets her sights on more dropboxes in local businesses, to gain a small base of volunteers for sorting/distribution and work on her official 501(c)3 filing thanks to a Dreamapolis PitchFeast grant she recently won.
“No act is too small,” says Leahy. “And if this makes even a little bit of difference then it was all worth it.”

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Collect your brand new or gently-used stuffed animals for donation. Dropoff boxes are located at The Urban Chalkboard of Carmel {452 E. Carmel Drive} or BounceU of Fishers {9715 Kincaid Drive} but hope to increase by the end of the year to locations throughout the city. If these spots aren’t close to you, contact Pals On Patrol to arrange a special pickup. Read thru all donation guidelines here on the Pals On Patrol website OR make a donation here. Visit PalsOnPatrol.com for more details.

 

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