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Lawrenceville church donates teddy bears to fire program

LAWRENCEVILLE - The children of Sunrise Baptist Church in Lawrenceville donated 40 teddy bears to comfort other children who will someday survive a fire.

Barrow County's Children After the Fire program was formed in October 2005 to help comfort children who survived a fire. The program has aided 61 children since then.

A house fire is devastating to a small child, who might have lost all his or her possessions, a beloved pet or even a family member, said Lt. Scott Dakin, Barrow County Fire Department spokesman.

"Whoever thought about fires being so traumatic?" said Vicky Flowers, leader of Sunrise Baptist Church's Children on a Mission Effort program. "Once you think about it, it makes sense."

Each child sewed a heart onto a fleece blanket and signed a card, then attached the blanket and card to a teddy bear for its future owner.

"The children hugged and kissed each bear, then we prayed over them," Flowers said.

It should take about a year to give out all 40 bears, Dakin said.

"It can mean a lot to a child just to have one of these bears to hug as their world is changing around them," he said.

The Barrow County Fire Department is working on expanding the program to create a Families After the Fire program and a program that helps children re-enter school following a traumatic event.

The children of Sunrise Baptist Church participate in a mission project each month.

"We look for things the children can benefit from learning about, community and overseas," Flowers said. "It teaches them that they are a small speck and this world is not all about them."