MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Teddy bears wanted for children facing challenges

Did you have a special teddy bear or stuffy you loved as a child? Those special friends comforted us, helped us get to sleep at night and kept us cozy.

For more than 18 years, the Dayton Section of The National Council of Negro Women has been collecting and donating bears and other stuffed animals to provide that same sort of security and comfort to children in our community who are facing special challenges, whether they are entering foster care, dealing with illness or facing difficult situations in their homes.

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In addition to members of the organization, friends, coworkers, church members and sororities pitch in too. Now we’re asking our devoted Make a Difference readers to donate to the Teddy Bear Round-Up as well. The gifts are presented on or around Valentine’s Day.

“It’s so rewarding to see the bears bring cheer to their little faces,” says Priscilla Jones, NCNW Past President and this year’s co-chair along with Sherri Walton. “There are just so many children in distress, and we think it is so comforting to have that little teddy bear and to know they’re not alone. A lot of these children have gone through trauma in their lives and many are being taken away from their families and it’s so important to make sure they have something that is their very own.”

How the project began

It was 2003 when Sondra B. Elmore, past president of the Dayton section of NCNW, came up with the idea and presented the project to her chapter and to the Dayton Urban League.

Elmore had always loved stuffed animals; they had helped her get through the loss of her own two children.

The first year 200 bears were collected by the two sponsoring organizations and given to Dayton Children’s Hospital, the YWCA’s women’s shelter and to Montgomery County Children’s Services.

After the third year, the women of NCNW took on the project by themselves. In 2007, over 900 bears were delivered. The goal this year is an ambitious 1,000.

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In addition to previous recipients, the little animals will also go to the Ronald McDonald House, Dayton Christian Center and Stillwater Center.

In the past, the women actually presented bears to the children. These days, they are delivered to the non-profit organizations which distribute them.

“You’d be surprised what they pick,” says Jones, who remembers going to the V.A. for the event. “Sometimes they want a little bear they can cuddle on their chest.”

What they need:

  • New teddy bears or stuffed animals of any size.

Your donations can be taken to Shiloh Baptist Church, 3801 Fairbanks Avenue (45401) between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Ask for Sister Crews.

If you have questions or items for pick up, you’re asked to contact Sherri Walton at (937) 546-4984 or Priscilla Jones at (937) 275-4865.

To make a financial contribution to the project, send to NCNW Dayton Section, P.O. Box 41, Dayton, OH 45401. If you have a Cash App account, donate using $waltonsj.

“A teddy bear may seem like a small thing, but it can be a tremendous comfort for children when they enter foster care,” says Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge. “They are leaving what is familiar to them often with little more than the clothes on their backs. The bears are a way of showing that somebody cares at a very scary time.”

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith: meredith.moss@coxinc.com.

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

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