We are happy to keep bringing you Hugs Across America news, highlight activities of our volunteers and create a fun place for our visitors, supporters and friends of our mission.
50 teddies went to Charlestan, South Carolina to bring a message of love and prayer for the families of 9 firemen who lost their lives in a warehouse fire. Pam Blevins on the staff of the Fire Chief in Charleston felt the bears would bring a great message to the children and their moms..."They are not alone."
Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort Executive Officer Capt. Mary Jean Herden and Commanding Officer Capt. Bruce Boynton share thoughts on upcoming deployment after a presentation of teddy bears (among the 650 teddies delivered) from Hugs Across America by Director Sue Lucarelli.
Hugs donated bears for future child patients on Comfort's upcoming deployment during a multi month humanitarian assistance tour to the US Southern Command area of responsibility. The ships commanding officers, both Pediatricians, were delighted to have teddies available to ease the anxiety and pain of injured or sick youngsters who will receive medical treatment aboard the hospital ship as they tour around the world. The Comfort is the 5th largest hospital in the US, and includes 12 operating rooms. Truly an amazing ship with an equally amazing mission!
The monies for purchaes of these bears were given by Dr. Judy De Felice in honor of her friend Jean Battle. Jean Battle, a civilian employee of the United States Navy, worked first as a steward, then an ordinary seaman and most recently as a mate steering an oil tanker on the high seas until her retirement in 200l. Jean's fondest wish was to join the staff of the USNS Comfort but passed away in 2006. We are honored to share her wish in this way.
Saturday, June 2nd, 40 ( approx. ) children/parents attended the Teddy Bear Picnic, held at the Reformed Church auditorium in Manhasset. This was our first year with the picnic which included stuffing teddy bears( one for yourself /one for a child in crisis), Castle Bounce, games, craft activities, face painting, water sponge toss, children's special auction (Madame Alexander Doll & Nicki the American Girl Doll 2007), Elmo and the Clown... and FREE PIZZA!
We would obviously love to have better attendance and we can talk about the time/date/place for the event, but we still netted $675. ... Our expenses where greater this year as prizes, bear skins, a beautifully home made stuffing machine( thanks to Linda's husband...the Doctor ) and craft/games were purchased that will not need to be next year. We also had a Castle Bounce activity that cost $250....but attracted attention. SOOOOO!
I am always concerned about labor intensive activities .... and must thank Linda Dispensa BIG TIME for organizing, decorating, cleaning up and purchasing needed items. ... as well as Anthony DeMartinis for braving the wet sponge to the face activity >>>> What a champ!!! 'Course decorating was lonelier than necessary for Linda and I ... and we do need to talk about how to work that out next year .... but, HEY, it was fun!!! Made lots of new friends for HUGS and the Board members who were there were a great help. Thanks to Caroline Laur, Mary Clark, Emmy Liss, and Reggie Papa who also brought her grandchildren, for their help.
The Kelsey Briggs Chapter of Hugs Across America requested teddy bears for victims of a Sweetwater Oklahoma tornado, as well as the tornado that devastated,Greensburg, Kansas. John Marshall High School collected 171 bears to help out.
So many children lost everything. Cindy Eggeling a Secretary at John Marshall said, "Our school mascot is a bear, what better way for our students to give back than to donate a bear to children in great need".
Hours after the devastating tornado hit Greensburg, Kansas we were in touch with the American Red Cross of Kansas. Because the tornado had completely demolished a 2 mile wide path of downtown Greensburg, shelters were set up in the near- by towns of Dodge City and Platt.
The Dodge City Red Cross, led by Joan Hendrickson, requested 300 teddy bears to be delivered to shelters full of families whose homes where completely destroyed. "It will take weeks, perhaps months, before things can be sorted out and belongings found, says Joan, and we certainly do need hugs!"
Tyler McIntosh found a new friend while collecting things near his home in Greensburg.