Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital is partnering with the Hyatt Regency Valencia as they host the annual Donate A Bear Drive this month.
The drive gives every child that comes into the emergency room at the hospital a teddy bear. The event has taken place for the last few years as an opportunity to provide a sense of comfort for children.
“Just in 2014 alone over 10,700 children under the age of 14 went through our emergency room,” said Maria Strmsek, Director of Volunteer Services at Henry Mayo Newhall.
Henry Mayo originally started with a day event in September 2012 to celebrate National Teddy Bear Day and has grown into a month-long event in an effort to raise awareness.
“Last year we were lucky enough to have over 5,000 bears donated by various people and organizations throughout the community,” said Strmsek.
Donated stuffed animals must be new and range from nine to 11 inches in size and can be dropped off at the front desk staff at the Hyatt Regency Valencia or to Volunteer Services in the Main Pavilion at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
“It’s important to give back to the community as much as possible and everyone should know that these donations don’t have to stop here,” said Amanda Benson, Business Travel Manager and Social Media Ambassador for the Hyatt Regency Valencia. “Henry Mayo appreciates teddy bears donated year-around.”
Contributors are encouraged to share their photos online with the hashtag, #DonateABear.
Other donations to the hospital can also be given online here.
Benson saw her own child experience the positive effects of receiving a teddy bear during a trip to the emergency room.
“In 2013, when I first heard about the drive I thought of my son who was 7 when he received his bear and how it struck a chord with me. I knew I had to reach out and find a way to get others involved,” said Benson.
She says her son still has the bear and that she felt the need to spread the word about the drive.
Since then, Benson has contacted local businesses and friends to help gather over 3,000 bears in previous years.
“The Hyatt dedicates the month of April to Hyatt Thrives where the company challenges employees globally to give back. This event is perfect because it involves both the Hyatt and the community to order to help however we can,” Benson said.
Strmstek says it makes her feel good to see that people have always found so much compassion and pleasure when it comes to helping children.
“I just want to thank the community for supporting us and for continuing to be so genuine, gracious and generous.” she said.
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