605 Bailey Rd.
North Syracuse, NY 13212
Our program started here in Syracuse at Pitcher Hill Community Church on April 1, 2004 with a donation from our Diaconal Ministries committee. We have “Teddies at the Ready” at church and we are working with our local NAVAC, a funeral home, and an elementary school that is near the church.
The pastor at church talked with the children about the hugs bears and their purpose here at church. I asked the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade class to make the special tags that the bears wear. I thought it might be nice to have something for the bears to travel in when they leave the church. I then asked the Children in Worship class to decorate brown bags donated by a local grocery store. Both of these classes did a wonderful job and loved helping out.
As I was getting the program ready to be a resource for the three local agencies, we were all overwhelmed by the news that one of our own church family children was diagnosed with cancer. Her name is Hannah and she was the first recipient of a Hugs Bear. Just this past week we received a request from the local National Guard for bears. They have twenty-one children that have parents leaving for Iraq in about eight weeks.
Since we only have twenty bears ready I needed to think of a quick fundraiser to be able to help these children out. I put an insert in our bulletin explaining our need and asked the congregation to respond with a monetary donation. In two weeks I will set up a table in the narthex after church for those who wish to bring back the teddy envelopes I included with the insert. At that time they will receive a little surprise of teddy gram cookies to go. I will also have more bags and tags for the children to make if they wish. Any fundraising ideas would be greatly appreciated, as I can quickly see that we will need to have more “Teddies at the Ready”.
I would like to end on a very happy note. I received a phone call this week from a mom who was involved in a car accident the previous day. Her two daughters, age 4 and 6, were in the vehicle. No one was hurt but her daughters received a teddy from NAVAC personnel.
She was so thankful for the comfort they received when they were so scared. She wanted to know how she could donate bears back to NAVAC for other children. It was a heartwarming phone call. Many children are truly benefiting from the Hugs Bears.
Hugs to all,
Michele A. Schauer