Okotokian reaches out to help children

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 06:00 am

Okotokian Brad Pond lies in a heap of stuffed animals donated from residents in the area. He transported 70 garbage bags of stuffies in a U-Haul trailer to go to the Calgary Police Victims Unit.
Okotokian Brad Pond lies in a heap of stuffed animals donated from residents in the area. He transported 70 garbage bags of stuffies in a U-Haul trailer to go to the Calgary Police Victims Unit.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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An Okotoks man is tapping into his competitive nature to lend a hand to a Calgary cause.

Real estate advisor Brad Pond was so moved by his employer Maxwell Realty’s involvement in collecting stuffed animals for the Share the Bear drive for the Calgary Police Victims Unit he decided to do something on his own.

Share the Bear was implemented by the Kids Help Phone to provide stuffed animals for Calgary police officers to give to children in domestic abuse and tragic situations.

“I just wanted to bring it to Okotoks and take it to that next level,” Pond said. “We help with a lot of different charities, but I just think this is such a neat tangible charity. I really wanted to see how big we could make it in our first year. I’m a little competitive.”

Pond began the collection last summer and accumulated so many new and used stuffed animals he filled a U-Haul trailer earlier this week.

He came up with the idea in May, created the posters and was ready to distribute them until the flood hit southern Alberta.

“We were ready to launch right around the time of the flood and backed off a bit and figured teddy bears might be the last thing we need,” he said.

In mid-summer, Pond mailed out postcards with his contact information asking for donations of stuffed animals and put posters in businesses around town. He also reached people through social media and by spreading the word to clients and friends.

With the help of his wife Amber, he collected stuffed animals from key chain size to four feet tall from dozens of Okotoks residents and began filling his guest room.

“The response has been overwhelming,” he said. “People were giving out bags and sometimes two garbage bags full. I had all kinds of people contact me.”

Pond said he doesn’t plan to stop collecting stuffed animals.

“I’m going to be doing this as an ongoing thing,” he said. “When children are involved in tragedy I think it comes down to the small things in life sometimes.”

Those interested in donating stuffed animals to the Calgary Police Victims Unit can contact Brad Pond at 403-816-0691 or on Facebook.


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