There are children in distress in every part of our world. Whether it results from a natural disaster or extreme poverty, children process trauma differently than adults and it often leads to life-long consequences. This is the reason that, along with the emergency life-saving supplies, we provide stuffed animals for children in the families we are reaching.
A stuffed animal is not just a toy. A stuffed animal is a friend and confidant. By listening to how children interact and talk with their new friend, parents are able to get insight into how children are processing the trauma. This insight allows parents to help address their children’s emotional needs.
When we respond to a disaster, one of the most important care items we send with our relief shipments is stuffed animals. We try to include thousands of stuffed animals along with the water, food, blankets and cleaning supplies. Natural disasters are traumatizing to children. They can suffer from nightmares, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Counselors and volunteers are able to hand out stuffed animals, and tell the children that they can talk to their “new friend” and tell them all their fears and scary thoughts. This provides an emotional outlet for children and allows parents insight into what is going on with their children in the aftermath of a storm.
We cannot forget about those children who suffer emotionally after a disaster. A simple stuffed animal can start the healing process.
Anytime you can give something to someone, you’ve developed a relationship, especially children. I have yet to see a child say I don’t want to have a gift, particularly a teddy bear, and it breaks that barrier. It’s a great tool to use to bring that person into an acceptance of someone being there for them.
Each year, Gleaning For The World’s Teddy Bear Brigade reaches out to tens of thousands of children across the world to deliver stuffed animals. These are extremely poor children, many of whom have never even owned a toy before. We provide these stuffed animals along side other supplies. They provide emotional support while the children are able to get medical care or a hot meal.
Stuffed animals bring these children, who are often victims of violence and abuse, to people who they can trust and get them the help they need.
Experience has shown that the simple gift of a stuffed animal can cut in half the amount of time it takes to help a child make this turnaround. These children have been loved by no one and had no one to love. When they are given a stuffed animal, they have, for the first time in their lives, a personal possession that is all their own – a symbol of security that offers them unconditional love and helps them begin to heal.
Is your organization looking for a way to help children around the world? Clubs, businesses, churches and professional societies are able to hold teddy bear drives. This is a great way to engage your supporters, increase foot traffic to your business and generate interest in your organization.
Teddy bears tosses are a great way to engage your fan base. Fans love to celebrate their team. At first home team scoring, breaks in play, or other times, fans can toss stuffed animals onto the playing area. We work with professional, collegiate and amateur sporting events to publicize events and help the clean up of stuff animals. We provide in game number so fans can be told how many animals have been donated. Get your team involved today!