LEE COUNTY, Fla.- It's a sweet deal: one Fort Myers florist will trade you a teddy bear, for a dozen roses! But the idea behind the exchange, makes the swap even sweeter.
Florist Greg DePasquale wants to trade your stuffed animals for his stems.
"What we're doing is we're offering a dozen roses to anyone who brings in a new teddy bear or a different type of stuffed animal into the store," DePasquale, of Fort Myers Floral Designs, said Thursday.
What makes the deal even more desirable is the mission behind it. All the stuffed animals collected are being donated to Lee County Sheriff's Office. Deputies hand out the bears to kids caught in the middle of crime scenes or car accidents.
"That teddy bear, that stuffed animal that they can hold, can give them that comfort while mom and dad are dealing with the situation at hand, can bring them a lot of comfort," Stacey Payne of LCSO said Thursday.
The only one not benefitting from the bargain, the floral shop. They're losing about $10 per bear in roses.
"You know, we try to give back to the community. We have a daughter also, my wife and I, so I think it's something that's new, it's different. Financially, it's a worthy cause," DePasquale said.
The community agrees, keeping LCSO's stuffed animal supply stocked, despite tough economic times.
"They've really stepped up and said, we care about the kids and if we can give them something as simple of a gesture as giving someone a stuffed animal, to make them feel better, they're doing it," Payne said.
Lee County Sheriff's Office requests all stuffed animals donated be new, and not holiday-specific.