Church donates items to help children in crisis

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Dec. 7—A local church is aiming to help kids in traumatic situations by donating comfort kits to local law enforcement.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in St. Joseph brought close to 100 bags with a variety of items to the St. Joseph Police Department and the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office.

Amie Haddock, the organizer of the project, said everyone at the church is trying to find a way to make a difference this holiday season and that's when the idea to help children came to life.

"We were trying to think of a way that we can give back to the community for this Christmas season and for our holiday party this year. We decided we wanted to do a service project or two," Haddock said. "One of the service projects that we decided we wanted to do is we wanted to be able to make comfort kits for our children that are in crisis situations. ... A lot of times there's going to be some unhappiness and displacement at (that) time. ... We just thought maybe we could alleviate a little bit of the stress."

The comfort bags are organized by age group and have items inside to keep the kids preoccupied. The bags are meant to be given to kids who are in traumatic situations as a way to take their minds off the situation at hand. The bags have snacks, toys, coloring books and more.

Sgt. Matt Kneib with the Crime Prevention Unit of the police department said this kind of support not only for the department but for the community is very fulfilling.

"It's overwhelming," Kneib said. "It's just that one more thing that kind of solidifies the type of community that we have in that we live in. There's always individuals out there willing to help others in our community. And they take that upon themselves to help not only us but help others build that."

Haddock said it's important to think of the kids in the community at all times but especially when things get tough during the holidays.

"The children are our future, and we've really got to do our best to protect them from some of these things," Haddock said. "Unfortunately, they're stuck in situations where the adults aren't always either making the right choices or are in tough circumstances themselves. It's a year-round thing that we need to be thinking about our children and what we can do to help to bring them up and to help them to have a good foundation."

Kneib said the comfort bags build another level of trust with the kids that are put in these difficult situations.

"It's just that one other piece to build that level of trust and to minimize that level of stress and trauma that's occurred when that child is involved in that incident," Kneib said. "Police officers have to respond and when children are involved with that, that is the worst day. So trying to minimize that connection between the officer's involvement and that day. So that's one more thing to kind of build that trust with them."