Sheriff Tester and company receive backpacks full of children’s items for each officer to carry. Tester believes that this will make a big difference when helping children on the scene. Photo submitted

By Meg Dickens
STAFF WRITER

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church’s WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) gathered for its November 6 meeting with a philanthropic idea in mind. The members brought in donations to help the local Sheriff’s Department and children in distress. The WMU donated children’s backpacks filled with items like coloring books, crayons, blankets, etc. that each officer will keep in their cruiser.
Although many would not think to donate these items, they are needed in cases where children are present at a scene, most common in accidents and domestic abuse cases.
According to the Children Advocacy Center’s (CAC) records, the organization served 63 Johnson County child victims in the 2018-2019 period. Two-thirds of these children were female. These numbers do not include cases where children are bystanders. That is part of why the backpack supplies will be so useful to officers.
“It’s a great thing to do. Every kid we can help in a crisis makes a huge difference,” said Sheriff Eddie Tester. “They’re already under stress and upset. This will help calm them down a little bit.”
Public support exploded when news of this donation spread. Several individuals are already proposing plans to keep this in motion. One idea is a replacement policy that will keep the officers stocked. Another idea was to provide small toys for the patrol cars during the Christmas season.
“This was so much fun to do! We had lots of participation and donations. What a great feeling to know that you’re making a positive influence,” said WMU member Lisa Roush. “We’re praying that God blesses each of the children that receive a backpack.”
Pleasant Grove Baptist Church’s WMU was established to study and support mission work, be involved in community mission actions, strengthen each other with prayer, and grow in Christian service. These ladies meet at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church on the first Wednesday of each month at 7 P.M. Find out more about the WMU and Pleasant Grove Baptist Church at thepleasantgrove.com or (423) 727-6805. Keep up to date on the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook and at www.johnsoncountysd.org.