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Phoenix preteen collecting hundreds of stuffed animals to help traumatized children

Shelby Shearer, 11, celebrated her birthday by giving back to the community.

PHOENIX — This year marks the 9th that Shelby Shearer will collect stuffed animals for the Phoenix Police Department in honor of her own birthday. 

She gives the toys to officers so they can gift them to kids when responding to traumatic events.

“It’s something to help the community. And since a lot is going on, it’s good for the kids who are going through rough times,” said Shearer.

Shearer has been hosting her annual stuffed animal drive since she was 3 years old. 

“When a child is going through a tough time they will throw tantrums and stuff or get sad so when they see the stuffed animal it takes their mind off what is going on,” said Shearer.

She originally got the idea from her mom and grandma.

“When she wanted to have this big princess birthday party when she was three, we were happy to do that. But we needed no more presents at our house so we decided on everyone bringing a teddy bear instead of a present,” said Shelby's grandma Stevi Shearer.

Shelby said that hosting the drive reminds her of her happy memories with stuffed animals.

The drive has grown with her with each passing year. 

Now, at almost 12 years old, she has made the cause even bigger by enlisting the help of Phoenix Christian School, where her classmates and teachers also collect for the drive.

She plans to get the stuffed animals to officers at the end of February.

Shelby would like you to also join in on her birthday celebration. She’s asking anyone with new or gently used stuffed animals to bring them to Phoenix Christian School at 1751 West Indian School Road.

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