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Saint Leo University-Tampa Collecting for Teddy Bears for TPD

By Meaghan Goepferich Posted on November 17, 2021

Donations of Teddy Bears, Stuffed Animals to Create ‘Comfort Squad’ for Officers to Distribute to Children in Stressful Situations

Saint Leo University-Tampa Collecting for Teddy Bears for TPD

Saint Leo University is helping the Tampa Police Department this holiday season. Teddy Bears for TPD will provide cuddly critters for officers to carry in their vehicles in order to provide comfort to children in stressful situations.

Saint Leo University’s Tampa Education Center will partner with the TPD to put together a “comfort squad” of stuffed animals. Officers will provide these furry friends to children at crime scenes, in times of crisis, trauma, and other scary situations. 

The Tampa Education Center will accept donations of new and gently used teddy bears and other stuffed animals November 9 through December 13. These may be donated 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the center, 1403 N. Howard Ave., Tampa, FL 33607.

In addition, Saint Leo University will collect teddy bears and other “stuffies” at its residential campus in St. Leo, FL, in Pasco County, and all items will be donated to the Tampa Police Department.

“We want interactions with the police to be positive for children, even if it’s a scary situation,” said Rod Kirkwood, director of Saint Leo University’s Tampa Education Center. “These donations will allow the police officers to provide something soft for the children to hold during a hard or difficult time.”

Law enforcement officers often encounter children on the scene of a crime, accident, or other situation. “When police arrive on scene, they’re the first people to see children in a traumatic situation,” said Tampa Police Interim Chief Ruben Delgado. “Giving them a teddy bear or a stuffed animal helps calm them. It really makes a difference.”

The teddy bears will provide another tool for the TPD to use to diffuse an often anxious and scary time.

For more information, contact Rod Kirkwood at [email protected] or (813) 743-3228.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation, offering 57 undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs to more than 18,200 students each year. Founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks, the private, nonprofit university is known for providing a values-based education to learners of all backgrounds and ages in the liberal arts tradition. Saint Leo is regionally accredited and offers a residential campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, 16 education centers in five states, and an online program for students anywhere. The university is home to more than 98,000 alumni. Learn more at