Assistance League of Santa Barbara provides comfort to children and adults in severe trauma situations through its Bear Hugs Program. Local agencies are given certified safe, toy teddy bears to comfort children, young adults and others in crisis.
Since the program’s inception in 1988, some 19,000 teddy bears have been individually bagged and distributed to organizations throughout Santa Barbara County.
The Bear Hugs Program is 100 percent staffed by member volunteers. The committee, headed by Judy Purcell, orders the teddy bears, individually bags them along with a coloring book in English and Spanish, adds a box of crayons, and delivers the packages to the agencies.
Each teddy bear wears a t-shirt sporting an Assistance League blue logo.
Twenty-nine organizations distribute the Bear Hug packages including Santa Barbara City Fire and Police departments, Juvenile Court, Family Service Agency, Superior Court, Neighborhood Clinics, Sansum Clinic’s Urgent Care and Hitchcock Pediatrics, Marian Regional Medical Center, California Highway Patrol, and Alzheimer’s Association.
This year, Assistance League of Santa Barbara will be providing 2,000 huggable bears to people in need in our community. To learn more about Bear Hugs, contact www.assistanceleaguesb.org.
Along with its auxiliaries, Las Aletas and Assisteens, the Assistance League of Santa Barbara’s 350 members volunteer more than 50,000 hours a year to improve the lives of residents in the community. The Assistance League Thrift Shop, 1259 Veronica Springs Road, is the major source of funding for these programs.
— Marlene Carlyle for Assistance League of Santa Barbara.