Comfort Animals for Police Departments
MINI's Making A Difference is pleased to announce a new program that provides area Police Departments with "Comfort Animals". Police Cruisers in participating departments will have stuffed animals available to hand to a child when they need it most.
(Above 1st photo) - Office Michael Lima and his fellow officers of the Warwick Police Department receive their comfort animals.
(Above 2nd photo) - Inspector Craig Sroka of the East Providence Police Department receives their comfort animals.
Police Departments currently participating in this program:
THE COMFORT TEAM: MINI’s Making a Difference are now providing “comfort animals” to area police departments. Here, Steve Scales, president of the car club (at right), is joined by Warwick Police Officer Walter Carson, Sgt. Robert Hart, Officer Greg Johnson, Officer Aaron Kay and Lt. Michael Lima. The police provided the MINIs an escort to Route 95.
There weren’t many MINI Coopers in 2003.
But that didn’t stop Steve Scales from pursuing a whim – How many toys could be stuffed in one of the Matchbox-sized cars and drive to Make-A-Wish? He put out the challenge to MINI Cooper owners across New England. Thirteen MINIs packed with toys showed up in Westerly. Scales called it “a joke.” It was the start of a non-profit organization, MINI’s Making a Difference, and a drive to collect toys that surpassed 20,000 toys – 20,459 to be exact – this year.
Scales and MINI Cooper owners from across the region joined Sunday at MINI of Warwick for their toy drop-off and then a run to Foxwoods for just the kind of event MINI drivers would love. Warwick Police escorted the line of 40 MINIs from Bald Hill Road to Route 95. They didn’t stay on the Interstate that long. After all, what fun is it to drive a sporty MINI in pretty much a straight line on a wide lane?
When appropriate, Scales said, the group took the back roads to Foxwoods.
“We went on all the windy, hilly roads we could find,” said Scales.
The casino was ready for them. Not only was there reserved parking, but they were introduced to Monza Karting, a new go-cart event at Foxboro.
Before the drive to Foxwoods, agencies in need of the toys at this time of year stopped at Warwick MINI for pickups. They were Children’s Friend, Charter Care Foundation, and the Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need.
Last year, the club teamed up with Hasbro Children’s Hospital to assist with the Good Night Lights program with an “adopt a light” fundraiser, whereby high-powered flashlights are given to children patients so that they might signal their acknowledgement to those outside flashing them a good night.
The MINI’s Making a Difference initiated a new cause this year. They are providing “comfort animals” to area police departments. The stuffed bears find a place in a cruiser trunk until a situation arises where the officer feels a child at the scene of a call – perhaps an accident or a domestic situation – could use the comfort of a stuffed animal.
Warwick Police now carry Teddy bears, but as Lt. Michael Lima pointed out, it may be months before a situation arises where they are needed. Meanwhile, they are stuffed in the truck of the cruiser along with a lot of other equipment. The MINI comfort animals are packaged in clear bags so they are as good as new when needed.
The club is providing the comfort animals for Warwick, Westerly and East Providence Police and have plans to extend their reach.