Officer Ben Carro with the Phoenix Police Department’s Mountain View Precinct knows that a big part of his job is community outreach, to create a positive relationship between the police and the sometimes rough neighborhoods they serve.

He recently launched a personal project, “Because we CareBears.” He keeps a selection of new and gently used plush toys in his patrol car’s trunk to hand out to people in the community—children, mostly—that look like they could use a smile or something to hug.

“I came up with the name for this program while on patrol in the south side of our precinct,” Carro says. “I observed a young family walking with several children. No one was smiling, so I pulled over and explained the reason for my stop. I retrieved several stuffed animals from my trunk and handed them to the children. In less than two minutes their day became just a little better than it was by a random act of kindness. Even in this simple way can leave a positive long lasting mark. By the time our contact ended this family was all smiles.”

Carro has been using his daughter’s “retired” stuffed animals for the project, explaining to her the animals will be going to a child who may not have the opportunity to have one. If you think your child may want to donate a stuffed animal or two, they can be bagged and dropped off at the Mountain View Police Precinct, 2075 E. Maryland Ave.

For more information, call the precinct at 602-495-5007.