There’s a point in time for everybody where they feel they aren’t in control. For adults, this can be devastating. For children, it can completely alter the way they see the world, and not for the better.
How many children’s lives would be different if they had the comfort of familiarity when being uprooted from their home and placed into foster care? This is the thought process behind Charlie’s Dinosaur, a non-profit organization that equips foster kids with clothes and toys as a way to give them something familiar to hold on to. Local business Look Larson Automotive Group believes in this idea, and over the last month and a half has raised $5,561 as well as boxes of toys and clothes to donate to the charity, giving them all at once to the organization at Larson Audi’s Fife location on April 21.
“Being put in a situation they don’t have the means to change, there’s a benefit in giving them even little things they can hold on to,” third-generation manager Rob Larson Jr. said. “It’s the consistency of having these things when they are put into foster care.”
Tacoma detectives involved with both Crime Stoppers and Charlie’s Dinosaur accepted the check on behalf of the non-profit, and all were thankful for the various donations made over the last month and a half. The majority of the donated money will likely go to new clothes for children in need.
“It’s very important – it gives foster kids something that’s theirs, something that’s familiar and they’re in control of,” Detective Brian Lund said. “It makes a big difference if a kid has a backpack to carry around his things in rather than a trash bag.”
The Look Larson Automotive Group, which has 15 locations throughout the Tacoma, Fife and Puyallup areas, got hooked up with Charlie’s Dinosaur last Christmas. After Rob Larson Sr. donated over 400 bikes to Toys for Tots, Officer George Hights, who helps organize the Toys for Tots campaign, introduced him to the Charlie’s Dinosaur organization. Larson and the company immediately got on board, putting donation boxes in every store and encouraging not just customers but employees as well to donate, with “jean days” employees could participate in if they donated $10 to the cause.
The Larson dealerships are active in other charities and non-profits across the city. They are currently gearing up for Relay for Life this summer.
“Larson automotive really cares about getting involved,” Larson customer service representative Noah Gregg said.
In 2012, Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County developed the Charlie’s Dinosaur outreach program in cooperation with the Cox family following the tragic murder of their grandsons Charlie and Braden on Feb. 15, 2012 at the hands of their father Josh Powell who also died. Powell’s wife, Susan Cox Powell, remains missing. Volunteers teamed up with the Cox family, the case detectives from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, and child advocacy groups to provide care items for children placed into emergency foster homes. Today, Charlie’s Dinosaur partners with businesses all around Tacoma to provide for children in need. If you would like to donate to the non-profit, mail donations (make checks out to Charlie’s Dinosaur) to Crime Stoppers, Attn: Ed Troyer, 6824 19th St. W., #139, University Place, WA 98466.