Dozens of teddy bears found new homes just in time for the holiday season last month thanks to the work of caring Glencoe residents.
Sixty-two bears, created by Glencoe children and their families, were donated in late December to the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago. The donation was spearheaded by a new offering from the Glencoe Park District.
Families signed up for take-out craft kits to make no-sew teddy bears, and then had the option to either keep the stuffed animal or donate it back to have it delivered to children at the hospital, said Erin Classen, the park district’s superintendent of marketing and communications.
Classen told The Record this was the first year the park district offered something like this, adding it’s something officials hope will continue again next holiday season.
“It absolutely seemed (to be) very well-received,” Classen said. “Families seemed happy to have an activity for kids to do that they could also teach their children about giving back.”
The bears made it to the hospital prior to Christmas and spent 14 days in quarantine to ensure safety before they were distributed to children staying at the hospital.
Park district officials received a letter of thanks from the hospital after the bears were delivered.
“Kids will be so excited to receive your teddys made with love,” the letter reads. “Thank you for working hard and bringing us joy this holiday season.”
The bear craft is one of several initiatives from the Glencoe Park District designed to keep families engaged despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re really looking for ways to keep families active with recreation at home,” Classen said. “It is tough right now to offer in-person activities at our facilities but we’re happy that the community is receptive to our engagements and activities.”
Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.