Metro East eighth grader collects teddy bears to help children d -

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Metro East eighth grader collects teddy bears to help children during emergencies

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COLLINSVILLE, Ill. ( – What started as a service project has grown to be much bigger for one Metro East eighth grader.  

Elizabeth Sauer has spent over a week collecting teddy bears at her school, Good Shepherd Lutheran in Collinsville.

“We’re collecting the teddy bears at my school,” the 13-year-old said. “Then we’re bringing them here and cleaning them, and fixing them if they need to be fixed.”

It started as a service project, which then got really big.

“Sometimes it’s been two to three trash bags a day, of the big contractor bags,” her mother, Melinda, said.

After the bears are collected, she donates them to a group called SAFE, which stands for Stuffed Animals for Emergencies. The organization takes the donations and gives them to children during emergencies like fires, illnesses or accidents.  

The eighth grader chose the organization because her brother received a teddy bear from SAFE when he was in the hospital.

“I saw how much it helped him, and I knew it would help other kids too,” Elizabeth said.

Sunday is the last day she will be taking donations, but she will continue to think big.

“If we collected a ton of them we could help the whole United States,” She said.

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