I-29 McDonald’s delivers hundreds of stuffed animals to Watertown PD

May 3, 2024

WATERTOWN, S.D.–The I-29 McDonald’s location in Watertown launched a unique initiative to support the Watertown Police Department by organizing a stuffed animal drive to comfort children involved in accidents or other traumatic events.

After hearing about a program in Sioux Falls where stuffed animals were given to children in accidents, McDonald’s employee Teresa Lassiter knew she wanted to do something similar in Watertown. Since the stuffed animal drive started last month, it has received incredible support from employees and customers.

“I hope the stuffed animals provide a sense of comfort, safety, and security to any children involved in an accident,” said Teresa Lassiter, the driving force behind the stuffed animal drive.

When officers respond to traumatic incidents involving children, they can often feel scared and vulnerable, and offering a soft, cuddly stuffed animal can be a powerful way to ease their anxiety.

A presentation of these donations was held Thursday at the Watertown Police Department. General Manager Alayna Walsh and Lassiter stopped by to deliver approximately 385 stuffed animals.