Traditionally, churches collect food items or articles of warm clothing during the holiday season to distribute to those in need.
But if you have ever seen a church sanctuary filled with teddy bears, you know the sight brings comfort that is indescribable. This year, the Missions Team of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Barrington is helping to provide that kind of comfort to victims of abuse and sexual assault.
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The bears are being collected throughout the month of December to be given to the Zacharias Center, formerly Lake County Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Since 1983, the center has provided free services that are available to all victims, regardless of race, gender, language, ability, sexual orientation or religion.
When trained advocates first assist clients, a teddy bear is often much needed security in a scary time. The painful transition from victim to survivor can often start with the simple hugging of a bear when human contact can seem frightening.
Members of St. Paul have been bringing new or gently loved teddy bears of all sizes and leaving them in the church pews. The Missions Team will collect the bears Sunday, Dec. 23, and take them to the Zacharias Center.
St. Paul is at 401 E. Main St., Barrington. For information, call (847) 381-0460 or visit www.stpauluccbarrington.org.
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