Published July 25, 2017
Volume 1, Number 7

Good News Bears Gives Love, One Teddy Bear at a Time

By Tina Hansen
Pulse Writer

When is a teddy bear more than just a toy? When it is given to someone who has suffered a traumatic event or is in need of comfort and a calming influence.

Good News Bears, a Livermore based non profit, supplies teddy bears and other stuffed animals to organizations who encounter people, usually children, who have been traumatized, are sick or who are experiencing loss or loneliness. Any age, male or female, can benefit from these creatures “stuffed with love.”

Good News Bears averages over 14,000 gifts per year to shelters, emergency personnel, hospitals, hospice, and more. There are over 60 regular recipients of “bear gifts” including local police and fire departments, hospitals, and other needy Bay Area groups who can help distribute bears to those who need one. An average of 12,000 stuffed animals are given out each year by these organizations to social, medical, and emergency services agencies, nursing homes, active duty military, and shelters. In addition, bears are given in emergency situations and after natural disasters where local police, fire and emergency officials give bears to children at the scene of incidents.

Psychologists believe that objects that represent one’s childhood can help calm emotions during a stressful event. Teddy bears, in particular, have been shown to have an impact on calming children and adults during a stressful events by providing a feeling of reassurance.

Last month Good News Bears announced that they had lost their storage facility. The organization is currently waiting to get confirmation on two possible replacements. Not being able to secure space could result in the non profit shutting down. “The organization and our giftings have gotten so big that we cannot operate out of a home. We've lost storage a few times in the last couple of years, and we are at the point that if we don't find something this time, we will disband,” says Jeanie Haigh, teddy bear den mother for Good News Bears.

Storage is critical for the non profit. New teddy bears that are purchased for distribution need to be stored, along with other supplies used to create their gifts. All the funds that Good News Bears raises are used to purchase new teddy bears, which means they rely exclusively on donated space for storage.

“The community is a huge part of how we can continue to gift stuffed love. In addition to the donations, we get support from the business community. Livermore Valley Chamber is a huge supporter, as is Innovation Tri Valley Leadership Group. We also reach out to the community with our fundraisers.

Things like restaurant nights out, the sale of collector bears, and grant applications are how we get the funds to purchase new bears for groups like Paramedics Plus, hospitals, and CHP who ask for new bears to have in their inventory,” says Haigh.

For information, contact Chairbear Jeanie Haigh at jhaigh@livermorechamber.org or phone 510-409-6754.