HAZARD – The late journalist and founder of Good Bears of the World, James Ownby, once said, “There’s just something about a Teddy Bear that’s impossible to explain. When you hold one in your arms, you get a feeling of love, comfort, and security.” And after next month that feeling comfort could be extended to local children if an effort being mounted by an organization in Hazard is successful.
Community Ministries will be hosting a Teddy Bear drive beginning March 4. All donated bears will be distributed to local police and fire departments in Hazard and Perry County. The ultimate goal is to have these bears getting into the hands of children who may have gone through a stressful experience, such as a house fire or a social services action.
“It’s all about the kids, and we’re doing this in support of child abuse prevention month,” explained Samantha Carey, site coordinator at Community Ministries’ Starland Academy on Memorial Drive. Carey added that she hopes the bears can help give these children a better sense of comfort.
Carey came up with the idea for the drive while she and staff at Starland were considering community service projects in which the children who attend Starland could participate.
“I thought about a Teddy Bear drive, and we had done one in high school,” she said.
Carey has since been in contact with local police agencies and schools, and said she expects the schools to be a big participant in the project. She said in some cases the principals will offer rewards for the grade level that brings in the most bears for the drive.
In the past troopers with the Kentucky State Police presented Teddy Bears to children while on duty, though Carey said she learned that funding issues have played a role on halting that program. But she hopes this drive will help fill that gap with the state police and other agencies, and perhaps even become a yearly event.
“We’re just hoping to make this as big as we can,” she said. “Maybe even an annual event.”
The drive will run from March 4 through March 29, and all donations of small to medium sized bears will be accepted. Drop off locations will be set up at Starland Academy, New Beginnings behind the Hazard ARH, and the Corner Haven homeless shelter. For more information call 606-436-5720.