Have you ever seen what a teddy bear can do to brighten up a child’s day? Now, imagine if that child is sick. Each year, The Coit House (Buffalo’s oldest house) hosts a teddy bear drive for children who could use a boost. The effort is part of a city-wide drive to collect stuffed animals for kids who are a bit down and out.
Last year, 800 new stuffed teddy bears were collected for children at the Cancer and Chronic Illness wings at Children’s Hospital. This year, the goal is to gather as many stuffed animals as possible, to deliver to children learning to recover from issues that relate to domestic violence.
Incredibly, this is a year round drive that is divided into a set of months. Each set of months is handled by various organizations, to ensure that sick or troubled kids never have to worry about having a teddy bear to hug.
Unfortunately, the bear-raiser took a hit recently, when a large number of bears were stolen out of a parked car of a social worker at Haven House. The vile act prompted The Coit House crew to step it up, to help cover the loss. According to Rioux, that’s what Buffalo does best – helps out others when the chips are down.
“It’s beautiful,” said Sue-Jolie Rioux, who helps to organize the initiative at The Coit House. “We have done almost 1800 bears already since last June. And the 500 we are shooting for right now are just to replace the ones stolen from the social worker’s car. We would love 1500 total, but not all at once of course… hopefully over the next three months. I just LOVE how this city supports each other. Nowhere I have ever lived, outside of my home in Newfoundland, has been so supportive of its community as I have witnessed here in Buffalo. Any “new” stuffed animal will do. They don’t need to just be bears.”
If you would like to donate a stuffed animal, you can make an arrangement via this Facebook page. Organizers are shooting for 500 stuffed animals before the end of this month, and 1500 before the end of July.
Donations can be made directly to the Coit House by appointment only (message on Facebook), or they can be dropped off at the offices of Tres Jolie Maison, Inc. at 497 Franklin Street in Allentown – (716) 249-7330.