Utah communities donated 7,918 stuffed animals for Project Teddy Bear this year.
The 17th annual Project Teddy Bear resulted in Bank of American Fork presenting 7,918 teddy bears and other stuffed animals to three Utah family support centers. Since Project Teddy began back in 2000, more than 118,547 stuffed animals have been donated to this special program.
Thousands of Utah children visit local crisis centers each year. These at-risk children may be the victims of abuse or neglect, their homes may be unlivable or their parents may be unable to take care of their children.
So, who is taking care of Utah’s at-risk children?
Spanish Fork teen Kameron Snarr has a passion for off-road racing motorcycles and for helping children in need. Sandy Dubois can be found at Bank of American Fork before it opens and is usually the last to leave. She started Project Teddy Bear 17 years ago to help children. Twelve-year-old Kylie wanted to do a service project, and collected 284 stuffed animals to donate to Project Teddy Bear. Three-year-old Hazel even participated, using the coins she earned by doing extra chores at home to purchase a soft pig for a child “who doesn’t have anything to cuddle at night.”
Our communities are made up of Kamerons, Sandys and Kylies. Crisis centers always need donations of necessities like shampoo, clothing and food. But another—often unmet—need is that of something to help children feel support and love. Stuffed animals are used in play therapy. They are also used to soothe an upset child or given to children to help them feel love and comfort.
The stuffed animals were donated by customers and community members. They will benefit children who have been abused, are at risk of being abused, or have experienced other traumatic situations.
At the presentation ceremony, Richard Beard, president and CEO of Bank of American Fork, presented the bears to the Salt Lake County Family Support Center, the Utah Valley Family Support & Treatment Center and the Family Connection Center in Clearfield. Beard recognized some of the stand-out givers this year, including:
- Bingham High collected 125 stuffed animals, thanks in part to student body president Tyler. He invited students to bring a stuffed animal for entrance into the annual talent show, instead of the typical monetary entrance fee.
- American Fork High School Marching Band. Students, parents and faculty donated time to pack up all the stuffed animals and sort the boxes. This helped prepare for the delivery by Bailey’s Moving and Storage.
- Spanish Fork Letterman’s Club—Collected nearly 2,000 stuffed animals this year. Spanish Fork Letterman’s Club has participated in Project Teddy Bear for 11 years. To date, they have collected more than 15,000 stuffed animals. This year they involved Canyon Elementary.
- Baileys Moving & Storage—Provided all of the boxes, labor and a large moving truck to deliver teddy bears to three support centers.
The bears were transported and delivered to each of the centers thanks to a generous donation of equipment and labor by Bailey’s Moving and Storage.