Bears on Patrol – Making tough situations bearable

Do you remember your childhood teddy bear? Do you remember how it scared away the monsters at night and kept the boogie man at bay?

Well we sure do. =)

bears-on-patrol Our Cause of the Week, Bears on Patrol, took this idea to the next level. They donate teddy bears to a number of police stations around the country. The police use these bears to help ease children’s minds who have been witness to a tough situation.

Blake Raab says ““every little bit helps,” the bears  lessen some of the trauma seen by the young eyes and also turn the scary police officer into an immediate friend.

We think its really cool what they are doing! So make sure to check out their site and the programs they are running like:

Adopt A Bear – For $20, you can “adopt” a bear to help send the bear through Bear Hug Training and put it into the hands of a child who needs a bear hug.

How did the whole idea come about?

    I have another business that sells, among other things, teddy bears with custom designs on their t-shirts.  I was looking at the bears one day and the idea just popped into my head that these would be great to give to police departments with their logos on them.  I did a “test run” with my local police department, and when I saw their level of interest, I realized that there was a real need for this.  I put the idea online and was contacted by other police departments that really needed these bears, too.
Why is this cause close to your heart? Why should other support it?
    I think most people are familiar with this idea, and many people and groups collect stuffed animals for police, but usually on a limited basis.  The problem is that there is a constant need for teddy bears.  The police departments are literally searching online for this service and finding our website.  In our blog, I shared how the Philadelphia Police Department gave bears to children of a homicide victim on the same day they received a shipment from us.  Hearing stories like these, I realize that we must do what we can to equip our officers to comfort children who are emotionally fragile and traumatized.

Do you have any other events or fundraisers that you would like others to know about?

    We currently have several police departments requesting 1,000 bears.  As a new organization, we do not have the funds to fill the need.  We appreciate donations of any size.  If anyone wants to donate new or gently used teddy bears, we will work reimburse you for shipping to send them directly to a department.  We have a teddy bear, Miles the Traveling Bear, who is traveling around the country right now to raise awareness for our cause.  He is @MilesTheBear on Twitter and is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MilesTheBear
What advice would you give to others that might like to take on such an amazing endeavor?
    If you see a need that is not being filled, go for it!  Anyone can make a difference.  I do not have a background or training in running a nonprofit organization.  I simply saw somewhere I could help and took the necessary steps to start helping.

How has social media helped your organization?

    Social media has been absolutely vital in accomplishing our goals and growing our organization.  Through Twitter alone, we connected with Menachem at Operation: Kid Equip (@OKE_News) who has given us advice and even donated three boxes of stuffed animals that couldn’t be used by his organization.  We established a partnership with Kids Are Heroes (@KidsAreHeroes) that led to several events at Boyd’s Bear Country that provided bears for us.  We also connected with Doodlekins (@Doodlekins) who has become a corporate sponsor and a great supporter, and several other people who really help share our cause.
What do you have planned for the future of Bears on Patrol?
    The future is endless for us.  The need for teddy bears will always be there, and I like to say that I want to see a day where teddy bears are a standard part of a police officer’s equipment.  An officer would not go on duty without a gun or badge, and I want everyone to realize that having a teddy bear to make traumatic situations just a little brighter and more hopeful is just as important and necessary for the officers.

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