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BOISE, Idaho – A four-year old community service campaign helping State Police give away stuffed teddy bears to youngsters involved in auto accidents or in traumatic incidents is winning wide media exposure for the $43 million Idahy Federal Credit Union here. “We’re simply pleased that so many people have made donations to this campaign, and it has enabled us to reach out to more new members, ” declared David Berrent, president of the 7,700-member Boise CU. Under the “ Teddy Bears for Kids” campaign, state troopers from their cars hand out stuffed toys to comfort injured or frightened youngsters involved in accidents or emergency situations. The number of toy bears handed out each year has grown “and we expect this year we’ll top 250.” With contributions from members-in addition to personally bought stuffed bears-the toys are purchased by the CU at a discount from a local Wal-Mart and distributed to state troopers. “The problem was presented to us four years ago when we learned that the state police were running out of bears,” said Berrent. That was when the CU decided to step in and raise funds to buy more. Every holiday the teddy bear campaign is featured in some local publicity, but this year it’s been on several morning TV shows, on the radio and in newspapers. The new interest may reflect the public’s eagerness to support law enforcement and emergency personnel in the wake of Sept. 11. So far the “Teddy Bears for Kids” campaign has distributed 800 bears over the four years. This year the program was expanded to include more than state troopers. New groups receiving the bears include Ada County Paramedics, Boise and Garden City Police as well as several fire departments. “Over the summer we won the right to increase our field of membership to include firemen, medical and emergency personnel, and so this year the campaign had permitted us to make our promotion known in 11 Boise neighborhoods,” said Berrent. -

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