Our Altrusa Club decided we would like to offer each child entering the emergency room a cuddly soft bear to comfort him or her during the traumatic ordeal of being poked and prodded and experiencing a great deal of anxiety and fear. In many instances the bear is used as a teaching tool to explain upcoming tests or procedures.
The project began with a $2,000 donation from the club in 1998; today the donation from the club is $2,500 a year. All funding for this project comes from the fundraising efforts of all members of the club.
In 2005 Sharon Vis, Luv Hugs committee chair, expanded the project to also provide bears to children having surgery. The surgery staff at the hospital have reported that the bears are a great comfort to the children and help to put them at ease. They also use the bear to demonstrate procedures.
Approximately 800 bears were distributed in the emergency room and surgery unit in 2007.