1,500+ Stuffed Animals Collected In Third Annual Arnaud’s Teddy Bear Drive

More than 1,500 stuffed bears were donated to the NOPD though Arnaud’s Teddy Bear Program.

NEW ORLEANS – The NOPD, in partnership with Arnaud’s Restaurant/ French 75 Bar and the New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation, collected more than 1,500 teddy bears and other plush animals as a part of the third annual Teddy Bear Drive.

         The plushes were presented to the NOPD today during a press event held at NOPD Headquarters Thursday at NOPD Headquarters, 715 South Broad St.

         Between Nov. 24 and Dec. 31, the public was encouraged to donate new and unused teddy bears. The plush animals, which will be distributed to the eight NOPD district stations, will be placed in NOPD vehicles for officers to distribute to children and family members they encounter who have been traumatized due to tragedy or victimization. A portion of the plush animals collected will be shared with the Baton Rouge Police Department to benefit the neighboring community.

         Archie Casbarian, co-owner of Arnaud’s, said that his restaurant started the program three years ago with the intention of reaching out to children in crisis in New Orleans and giving the NOPD an additional tool to use in connecting with these children.

         “Our first year, we collected 500 bears," he said. "We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve collected more than 1,500 bears this year that we’re presenting today, thanks to the generosity of a lot of New Orleanians. Because of that generosity, we’re able to expand the scope of the program to include other police departments in the area."

         “I am humbled by the support from our partners – Arnaud’s and the NOPJF – on this effort and beyond,” Chief Michael Harrison said. “It is an important initiative that not only comforts children who have been affected by violence, but also strengthens relationships between our officers and the community they serve. I am thankful for everyone who donated to this important program, and to Arnaud’s and the NOPJF for their ongoing backing of our officers who work every day to keep New Orleans safe.”

         “Sometimes, it’s the smallest gesture that makes the greatest impact,” said NOPJF President/ CEO Melanie Talia. “Our NOPD officers, as well as officers in Baton Rouge with whom we are happy to share, will partner with these furry friends to bring joy to children who are sad, or comfort to children who are in distress. Therein lies the impact of this small gesture of donating a bear makes. For a child, it leaves a positive and lasting impression of what could have been a very painful memory.”

         During the drive, collection bins were placed inside NOPD Headquarters, Arnaud’s Restaurant, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and the NOPJF offices. Other location organizations who aided in the drive included the Krewe of Iris, Hibernia, Energy Centre, the Junior League of New Orleans and the Press Club of New Orleans, among others.

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