Project Teddy Bear collects 18 422 stuffed toys

Project Teddy Bear collects 18 422 stuffed toysFor the 15th straight year Bank of American Fork held the annual Project Teddy Bear with the goal of donating thousands of stuffed animals to kids. This year the event brought in a total of 18 422 stuffed toys, American Fork Citizen reports.

The Bank of American Fork helds Project Teddy Bear every year close to Christmas. Customers of the bank, employees, businesses and students can participate by donating a stuffed animal of their choosing.

“The total number of bears [and other stuffed animals] donated over the years is a little bit of trivia here and that is 91 304 bear”, says RIchard Beard, who is president and CEO of Bank of American Fork.

Beard says he wishes there was no need for Project Teddy Bear. Each bear represents a child who has gone through trauma, he adds.

“If you have ever seen the sadness in a child’s eyes, there is nothing sadder than that,” said Joy O’Banion of the Utah Valley Family Support and Treatment Center.

In 2013 for example there were more than 4000 documented abuse cases for children in crisis in Salt Lake County alone. This year the donated stuffed animals will go to Young clients of the Orem-based center, as well as the Salt Lake Valley Family Support Center at various locations in Salt Lake County, the House of Hope in Provo, Salt Lake City and Ogden, and the Family Connection Center in Layton/Clearfield and Bountiful.

Project Teddy Bear begins at about Thanksgiving, with people dropping off donations to any Bank of American Fork location. Each year there are great stories about the people who donate for the cause.

Three sisters who live in Saratoga Springs, using their mother as a social media marketer, were able to donate 1,607 bears. The previous year, they gave 24.Camryn Madsen, age 14, Carsyn Madsen, 13, and Tyleigh Madsen, 10, made a goal to collect 100 bears a month beginning Jan. 1.“Last year we didn’t donate enough, so this year we wanted to donate more,” Carsyn said.They asked neighbors, and posted on Facebook and Instagram.

There are also very young children that want to donate. A little girl from the Sage Hill Elementary school for example came to the school’s Teddy Bear holiday tree hugging her favorite teddy bear with tears in her eyes. She wanted to donate her stuffed friend for the cause but also didn’t want to separate from him.

The teacher at the place told her she didn’t have to donate her own bear if it was too painful.“You know what, this is so much more important,” she replied, putting the bear under the tree and leaving to go to class.“The kids get it,” Beard said. “They want to give.”