‘Teddies for Tykes’: Stuffed bears bring smiles to children at Ronald McDonald House

Photo from event at Ronald McDonald House.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When you’re a little one, and you or a family member are in the hospital, it can be unsettling and uncomfortable. But a cuddly teddy bear can be just what the doctor ordered to bring a smile.

We were there Thursday as dozens of teddy bears arrived at the Ronald McDonald House.

Employees of 121 Financial Credit Union collected piles of teddy bears to distribute to children.

“Christmas is a very special time for a lot of families,” said Carl Rogers, a branch manager of the credit union. “Unfortunately, the families that are here are very special, and they need a little bit of TLC, and we’re just gonna provide them with a little TLC and comfort for the children.”

Joshua Hoffman says his family is wrapping up a two-and-a-half stay at the Ronald McDonald House, as his daughter completes her treatment.

“She got to ring the chimes over at UF (Health) Proton (Therapy Institute) and we’re fixing to be probably on our way home tonight, going back to Pensacola,” Hoffman said.

He said the teddy bear giveaway is the icing on the cake as they head home with a new “friend.”

“These are much loved teddy bears and stuffed animals,” said Rebecca Briones, program and events director. “They give the children comfort during their treatment, they give their siblings a sense that they are a part of it too.”

121 Financial Credit Union’s members purchased and donated the teddy bears at the credit union’s eight local branches during its “Teddies for Tykes” drive in October.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville supports the health and well-being of children by providing lodging and other services for critically ill, chronically ill and seriously injured children and their families, and it serves more than 1,500 families each year.

About the Author:

At WJXT for a quarter of a century, Mary Baer anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news weekdays.