PERRYVILLE — Police Chief Allen Miller watched as employees from Local 460 of the International Association of Machinists at IKEA set out dozens of stuffed animals and fleece blankets in the conference room Thursday afternoon and wished he’d had one of each recently.
Perryville Police was called to the mobile home park on Broad Street when a toddler was found wandering the neighborhood unaccompanied. Miller said the child was brought to the police station off Otsego Street while Det. Jerry Warner looked for her parents.
“If we had these we could have given her one,” he said as he scanned the tables full of the plush animals.
Miller said from now on that will be the plan.
“We can give them a stuffed animal, let them name it and keep it,” the chief said, adding that may help calm a frightened child.
Dan Celaschi said union members on the Community Service Committee decided to donate enough teddy bears to the police department so every patrol car could carry a few.
“They can keep them in their trunks so should they come across a child in an accident, or a domestic abuse call for example, they can offer that child some comfort,” Celaschi said.
Miller happily accepted the 53 blankets and 52 stuffies and called it further proof that IKEA is a good neighbor in his town.
“IKEA has demonstrated over and over again that they are part of this community,” he said. “When Dan called and asked if there was a need for this I said, ‘Absolutely.’”
Miller said in the past the company has donated the beds for the police department bunk room and is currently planning to renovate most of the first floor of the Perryville Outreach Program club, also on Otsego Street. Danielle Hemling, director of the OP, said the kids who attend the after school program are excited.
“Yes IKEA is going to redo all of the first floor except for the bathrooms,” Hemling said of the converted house. “It’s going to be great.”