Teddy bear donations brings smiles and love all for a good cause

A table of bears at the Toy Drive event at Henry Mayo Hospital. Georgia Rios/The Signal

Do you smile or find comfort while holding a teddy bear? Well that was the thinking of the 2nd annual Teddy Bear Drive that took place at Henry Mayo Hospital today.

“Most of the teddy bears that we give out are to children in the emergency room, because that’s where most of the traumas and injuries are, and the teddy bear just really makes them feel so much better,” explains Marlee Lauffer, president of the Henry Mayo Hospital Foundation.

Donated plush toys sit on a table during the second annual Toy Drive at Henry Mayo Hospital. Georgia Rios/The Signal

The foundation began the teddy bear drive in response to children coming into the emergency room, a place where it can be quite frightening for them to be, but with a teddy bear, help ease the stress and hide the scary aspects.

Community member and parent Mitra Sushinsky brought teddy bears with her two children, and explained why she found it so important to donate.

“We did a teddy bear drive at Tesoro del Valle elementary school, and they collected 110 stuffed animals for the hospital, so we were very excited,” said Sushinsky. “My husband is a doctor at the emergency room, so we got involved through him, and we just love doing it, it’s a great cause and it’s something kids can be involved with and get excited about.”

Community members drop off stuffed animals at Henry Mayo Hospital for the Toy Drive. Georgia Rios/The Signal

At Sushinsky’s bear collection drive, many parents who came told her that they wanted to donate because to them, it was a full circle, since they too had been to the emergency room with their children and received a bear.

Additionally, Princess Cruises, physicians families and many community members stopped by to donate plush animals to the cause.

Over the course of just a few hours, the drive brought in nearly 2000 stuffed animals.

Also donating their time and space was Camelot, who collected all of the stuffed animals, as well as donated space at their storage center, to hold all of them until needed.

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