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Kiwanians in the Lone Star State collect teddy bears for hospitalized kids

Julie Saetre | Nov 26, 2019

Woodlands teddy bears For nearly two years, The Woodlands Kiwanis Club/South Montgomery County in Texas has been bringing joy to children at Texas Children’s Hospital of The Woodlands. Each quarter, thanks to devoted members and a supportive community, the club drops off hundreds of teddy bears and other stuffed animals to cheer up the hospital’s young patients.

The project began when club member Tom Evans visited his brother, Don, in the hospital. As Evans walked past the gift shop with Don’s wife, she mentioned that Don would always stop there and buy several stuffed bears to send to hospitalized children. During hospital stays over the course of six years, Don had given away nearly 500 bears.

The conversation piqued Evans’ interest, and The Woodlands Kiwanis Bear Project was born. Inspired, Evans met with hospital officials, established a schedule, reviewed hospital regulations and began collecting bears. He first approached a men’s group at The Woodlands Christian Church for donations, then asked his Kiwanis club to get involved.

“Tom hoped to collect 100 to 150 bears for the first delivery, and he got 300,” says Dave Estes, president of The Woodlands Kiwanis Club. “Last quarter, we delivered 800 bears. We would love to see that number continue to grow so we can serve more children.”

To keep the supply steady, the club welcomes donations of new (not used) bears and other stuffed animals or a gift of US$5 to purchase a bear. The club also established a registry with online retailing giant Amazon; visitors to the club’s website can link to the registry and choose from a collection of stuffed toys.

Other community businesses and organizations have joined the effort as well, along with various Key Clubs and a group of retired flight attendants, to ensure future deliveries of fun and comfort for hospitalized kids.

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