Some local children will be smiling a bit more over the holidays thanks to a women’s group from Zachary United Methodist Church and the Zachary Police Department.

The Emmie Montegudo Circle, a group of about 18 women from the community, collected stuffed animals for nearly a month so they could donate the toys to Zachary officers.

On Dec. 3, the Circle, along with Zachary United Methodist Pastor Ricky Willis, met with several officers and Police Chief David McDavid to donate 170 stuffed animals.

According to Sgt. Shane White, the toys will be given to children the officers come into contact with when responding to domestic violence calls and sexual abuse cases involving children, as well as youth they meet while on patrol.

“It’s just something we can do to make the kids feel good,” said White, whose mother, Connie Charlet, is a member of the Emmie Montegudo Circle.

The group’s name was a tribute to former member Mary Ruth Montegudo, whose mother-in-law was Emmie Montegudo, a Zachary resident and volunteer at the church.

Willis blessed the stuffed animals before the women and officers worked together to bag the toys.

Charlet said the Emmie Montegudo Circle includes local volunteers who spend their time visiting nursing homes, the Louisiana Veterans Home in Jackson, taking up collections for residents and organizations needing assistance and volunteering at the Zachary Food Pantry.

“If we hear of a need, we’re there,” said Charlet.

The women meet each month at the church.