"I was sleeping at my meme's house to spend the night, and (the toy) fell off the bed," said the Rouses Point Elementary School first-grader, hugging GeeGee the lamb during a recent Brownie Troop 4027 meeting at Christ and St. John's Episcopal Church in Champlain.
GeeGee didn't turn up missing until Alise got home.
"I cried and cried, and my mom called my meme," she remembered.
The two were reunited quickly, but Alise can imagine what it's like when there's no stuffed animal to comfort a child who is sick or scared. So she's excited about the Teddy Bear/Stuffed Animal Drive her Brownie Troop is organizing for the Champlain Fire Department and Champlain EMS.
The rescue personnel "give out teddy bears and stuffed animals — mostly teddy bears — if (children) are frightened," explained Hope Jolicoeur, 8. "It makes the kids feel better."
"I like it a lot because I think it's going to make kids happy," Alise said.
"I like it because we're helping other people," observed Samantha Disco, 9.
The drive is set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, at the firehouse, where the Brownies invite people to drop off gently used or even new teddy bears or other huggables.
"I think it's going to help a lot of kids on the scene to be braver, so they know they have at least one stuffed animal," said Grace Dumas, 9.
She imagines bears comforting children who have lost their homes to fire. And she knows just what she'd do if she ever faced such a situation.
"I'd run out with my stuffed animal Palo," she said.
She got the pug dog for Christmas, and it's one she especially loves.
The drive is the culmination of a Girl Scouts program called Journeys that the troop has been working on for a while.
"It's supposed to help them learn to be leaders," said Grace's mom, Kenna Dumas, who co-leads the troop with Debbie Jolicoeur.
The girls took part in activities designed to understand themselves and their values; to learn to work as a team with their troop and to help improve healthy living with their family and in the community; and then to take action to improve their world.
"This," said Mrs. Dumas of the teddy-bear project, "is their take-action plan."
It's a good one, said Champlain EMS Assistant Captain Cory Thompson, for it can be pretty scary for a sick or hurt child when the ambulance rolls up.
"We pull out one of these stuffed animals," he said, "and we ask them to hold on tight so (it) has a good ride to the hospital."
He's seen how that can calm a child's fears.
The drive will allow a stockpile to build up, he said. The departments depend on donated toys, and sometimes there isn't one available.
Already, the Brownies have collected quite a few, as Debbie Laurin of Coopersville contributed a couple of large plastic trash bags filled with stuffed animals she had planned to sell at a garage sale. She's also giving some of her own collection, which includes angel bears she bought after the death of her mother.
Stuffed animals bring comfort, the Brownies agreed.
Emma Gooley, 7, named her most special teddy, Cousin.
"Because it reminds me of my three cousins," she said.
Angela Wayman, 8, has had her well-loved Winnie the Pooh bear since she was about 2.
"It's really comfortable, it's really small, and it's really cute," she ticked off all the reasons it's her favorite.
Lily Merrill, 8, couldn't bring her favorite stuffed animal, a horse named Midnight, to the meeting.
"It's really, really big," she said. "I use it for a pillow."
She also prizes a stuffed dog named Peppermint. It's a Webkinz, a virtual pet that she takes care of online.
Quiet Gabrielle Bechard signed her name on thank-you cards for toy donations with her rainbow-colored teddy bear Fluffy at hand. Princess came along to the meeting with Hope, but she hesitated to say she loves the Vermont Teddy Bear best.
"It's like a hard decision," agreed Amy Visconti, 8, holding her white bear Snowball.
She'd hate to hurt the feelings of any of her stuffed animals by playing favorites. How many does she have?
"Like a thousand," she guessed.
Emma nodded. "I have a lot, too."
That makes it tough to share attention equally, the girls said. But sometimes circumstances require some get a little more love, even the privilege of sharing a little girl's bed.
"A couple of my toys usually have nightmares if they don't sleep with me," Emma said.
E-mail Suzanne Moore at: firstname.lastname@example.org