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.
In a report from Naomi Smith, American Red Cross for West Virginia Miner’s, as she spoke of the Memorial Service for the 29 miner's who lost there lives in the Big Branch disaster, and the grieving town. The town is returning to work but is just "OK" as they continue struggling with grief and the obvious absence of so many friends and family. The Memorial Service, April 25th, was such
a touching and significant beginning to healing…with the President and Vice President attending as well as other noted dignitaries.
Hugs was asked to send another 100 teddies for those children attending the memorial ….and every single bear was taken. With so much Secret Service around, the teddies had to be screened before they could be brought into the memorial. Although the Red Cross was not allowed to take pictures, Naomi spoke of the children’s response. “You know it’s the quieter children, the ones that couldn’t speak about it, that were having the most difficult time…and they were the ones that grabbed the bears to their hearts and held on tight.” “I’m going to keep this with me for ever and ever”, said one youngster as she spoke to a Red Cross worker.
Logan Beard, 13, helps sift through the debris of a home on
Countynorth of after a tornado swept through the area Vicksburg, Miss.
on Saturday, April 24, 2010. Gov. Haley Barbour told The Associated Press
there was "utter obliteration" in parts of
, an area Yazoo County
where he is from.
Mary Hamilton, Director of the Jackson American Red Cross, has requested 1,000 bears for children of the 700 families that have lost everything! 150 – 175 mile per hour winds simply destroyed everything in the 1 mile wide path of the tornado. In addition to the destruction of homes, 10 people, including three children, were killed as the storm swept across Mississippi. The teddies will help give those children who lost so much a little message of huggable hope. They are so frightened, not knowing what will happen.
April 5th 2010, marked a particularly devastating day in Montcoal, West Virginia, and across the country. Twenty-five miner's from the Massey Energy's, Upper Big Branch Coal Mine, were killed in an explosion on Monday evening.. Mourners wait for news of four more who were left in the mine. Anxious family and friends have gathered to hold candle light vigils while prayers for the families have been held all across America. As the waiting continues and the families of the known dead grieve for their loved ones, some 160 teddy bears have arrived to bring a special hug of hope. The American Red Cross in Beckley, West Virginia is distributing the bears to children of lost miners and those anxious about family members. Naomi Smith, a Red Cross worker, stated that it's important for the families to know that they are not alone and that people all over the country share their loss. Hugs will be a big help. Our prayers are with them.
Students at Mandracchia Sawmill Intermediate School in Commack collected 146 teddy bears to donate to Hugs Across America. The not-for-profit charity was founded by Sue Lucarelli, who was a teacher in a Manhasset school when the towers went down on September 11, 2001. She recalled, "The school went into lock-down as a precaution, and one of my anxious students said to me, "I need a hug!"" She gladly complied, and thought to give the youngster one of the class teddy bears as an added comforter. And as simply as that, the concept of Hugs Across America was born. The organization now has 195 chapters nationwide and has distributed more than 460,000 teddy bears to children who might "need a hug" to cope with events in their lives. The bears are distributed to children of military parents who have been deployed, children who are involved in family court struggles, natural disasters, or are grieving. Many fire engines and police cars carry a spare bear or two to give to youngsters at emergency scenes. Each bear that is given out has an attached tag that indicates the giver's name and the message, "I care." Sawmill fifth grade student council representative Olivia Dubi initiated the idea of collecting the teddy bears for children. A bit of research by student council advisor Phyllis Solomon led her to Hugs Across America. Its mission statement echoes the feelings of the Sawmill students, "In this often troubled and troubling world, it is our mission to bring comfort to children in crisis through the hugs of teddy bears and messages of loving care." Article by: Brenda Lentsch
Commack Public Schools
. Courtney Wierzbicki writes that, "In our English 12 class we were all assigned to come up with a service learning project. My group has brain stormed and came up with the idea of helping your organization. We were wondering if we could possibly collect bears to donate to children who have lost so much because of the earthquake in Haiti. If this isn't what you need then we would love to help in another way, maybe by collecting money or helping pass out bears. There is a total of 4 girls in our group and we would love to get going on this as soon as possible. They did, indeed, get busy and collected 93 teddy bears. The girls, Alison Huffman, Sam Matta, Kait Cummings and Courtney wrote out tags with a messageof hope for each reciepient and put them on the teddies. This shipment of bears will be heading immediately to Big Pine Key, Florida for transport to a UN delegation ready to distribute the teddies to children in the Port - Au - Prince area who are now homeless. A big heartfelt thank you to Courtney and the girls for their effort!!! ....and yes, it will definitely make a difference to children who have suffered so much.