Edina-based Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation partnered with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation to give away 125 free lifejackets to children and adults at Plymouth’s Parkers Lake Park July 31.

The giveaway event promoted the use of U.S. Coast Guard-approved floatation devices while swimming, according to a press release.

The event was the second of its kind for the Sheriff’s Office and Abbey’s Hope after they gave away 75 lifejackets at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis last month. After the success of that giveaway, the Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation made a significant financial pledge to fund multiple lifejacket giveaway events in 2022. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Abbey’s Hope, and the Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation hope to give away 2,000 lifejackets by the end of summer 2022, the press release said.

“Based on the turnout of our first event, it was obvious that we’d have to host another lifejacket giveaway,” Sheriff David Hutchinson said in a statement. “Encouraging children to wear Coast Guard-approved lifejackets while swimming, especially in open water, is such an easy way to prevent a fun day from turning tragic. It’s looking like the rest of the summer will be quite warm, so we really want to get out to the lakes to encourage safe water recreation.”

The giveaway events are one aspect of Hutchinson’s Play It Safe summer initiative, a public awareness campaign that uses traditional and social media to educate the public on ways to have a safe summer.

“We are very pleased to continue our partnership with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation to work towards our shared goal of promoting water safety,” Katey Taylor, founder and president of Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation, said in a statement.

“Our organizations are dedicated to educating parents and caregivers on ways to be safe in natural water settings. We cannot say this too much: the best way to prevent a water-related tragedy is to wear a properly fitted, Coast Guard approved life jacket every time you are near, on, or in the water.”

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