Teenage lacrosse players, HPD hold toy drive to help child crime victims

December 3, 2012 4:48:12 AM PST
Teenage lacrosse players from across the state teamed up with the Houston Police Department this weekend for a special mission. In honor of a young woman who died years ago, they joined together in Hockley at Zube Park to make the lives of young crime victims a little bit easier.

This is a tournament that's about more than putting a ball in net. It's about putting a stuffed animal in the hands of a child in need.

"As of today, we've collected, between yesterday and today, 1,535 stuffed animals from girls all over the state of Texas," said Vera Briggs.

An annual toy drive at the tournament provides those animals to children who are victims of violent crimes, orphans, survivors of broken or battered homes.

"It's something they can love and they can have and be their own, just something special that they can hold onto," said Brooke Solcher.

"They can have it for a long time and enjoy their toys," Patrick Solcher.

"I just think it's really good to donate the animals so that the kids who need them can have something to hold onto," said Mattie Schafer.

This is a drive that is as much charitable effort as it is a touching memorial for the girl who started it in 2009 -- Julia Briggs, who came up with the idea to collect and donate these stuffed animals in the months before she was diagnosed with and died from a rare cancer at the age of 13.

"I love her. I miss her. I think of her every day. I know how much she loved stuffed animals and lacrosse. And it just brings me comfort," said Julie's mother, Vera Briggs.

Comfort it will undoubtedly bring to the children who'll benefit from a game they've likely never played, people they've never met and a girl who never gave up.

The effort is officially called "Remembering Julia" and there are certainly plans to continue the event next year.


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