Whitefish Bay church collecting teddy bears to send to Newtown

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WHITEFISH BAY -- A Whitefish Bay church congregation is doing its part to help those affected by the tragic mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Members of the United Methodist Church are collecting teddy bears to send to those still struggling after the shooting.

"We're inviting everyone to hold them, hug them and pray a blessing over them, and then send them off," Pastor Susan Patterson-Sumwalt said.

20 students and six adults were killed during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. 

Now, congregants in Wisconsin hope to provide a little bit of comfort during a time of sadness and tragedy.

"I cannot imagine the sorrow those people must feel. Having lost a child myself, I just know how warm that must feel to cuddle (the teddy bear) up and hold them for those kids," Lois Goldberg said.

Pastor Patterson-Sumwalt says in the past, the church has had a similar teddy bear collection for children in need, and says it has a great effect. Patterson-Sumwalt says she hopes every time kids in Newtown see the teddy bears, they'll know they're in the thoughts and prayers of people across the country.

"We'll bless them and put little heart tags as a tangible sign of God's love passed on to the children and surviving families in Newtown," Patterson-Sumwalt said.

The United Methodist Church will continue to collect teddy bears during its five Christmas Eve worship services on December 24th. The bears will be packed up on December 26th and shipped to Newtown.

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