Kathy Peltier of HiWay Baptist Church made a significant and unique donation Thursday, June 18, to some very special children here in Apache Junction by way of the police department.
On occasion --- more often than we like --- the police department has to facilitate, in cooperation with Department of Child Services, the temporary removal of children from an abusive home. Sometimes the events leading up to this unfortunate situation happen quickly and officers have to help the child rush to gather some of their things to take with them.
Usually officers grab a trash bag and take as much of the child’s personal belongings as they can fit into the bag in a short amount of time.
According to Ms. Peltier, the act of throwing a kid’s toys and clothes into trash bags is actually confuses the child, exacerbates the level of fear and uncertainty experienced by a child who is already going through a scary situation.
Ms. Peltier, who has served as a foster parent for several years, has some extensive experience in receiving these frightened and confused children in the middle of the night.
She knows firsthand how traumatic it is for these children. First the child is traumatized by the abuse and then they are placed in an unfamiliar environment as a result and usually no fault of their own.
Ms. Peltier and the team at HiWay Baptist Church gathered close to a hundred brand new pillowcases of various sizes and designs and then sewed a positive message on each pillowcase.
The colorful pillowcases will be used as bags for these children to put their clothes and/or toys in while they are temporarily placed in foster care.
The colorful pillowcase bags are intended to minimize the trauma by allowing children a few minutes to pack up some of their things in their very own pillowcase bag which they can take with them to wherever they may end up.
The idea is to immediately start providing the child with some stability by giving them something that will last longer than a garbage bag.
All the donated pillowcase bags have unique, brightly colored designs or cartoon animals on them. They are the sort of thing any child would want, regardless of what they are going through.
Apache Junction Police Chief Thomas E. Kelly said, “It constantly amazes me that we have such a caring and comforting community. Not a day goes by that one group or an individual does not reach out and offer assistance to those in need. We as a community are truly blessed by these thoughtful outreaches for those in need."
Editor's note: Cpl. Marshall Harshman is Apache Junction Police Department's community and media liaison officer.