How It Started
In the fall of 1996, a local police officer came to the Summit Seniors asking for help with a project: to give a toy to children in distress. By December, the “Give a Kid a Hug” program was born with the purchase of 275 teddy bears. This program soon became known as the “Hug-a-Bear” program and has continued to grow year over year. The goal of the bears is to spread joy, bring wishes for a speedy recovery and help the children in our community get through difficult times.
How It Works
The Hug-a-Bear program is a very important part of Summit Seniors’ commitment to community outreach and volunteer work. Our network of volunteers and partners are responsible for purchasing, packaging and distributing teddy bears to children who are sick, injured or coping with trauma. We work with hospital emergency units, ambulance services, police departments and flight for life teams to reach those facing even the most extreme situations.
Other Ways Hug-A-Bear Helps
The bears not only bring comfort to the children, but they also assist our local emergency workers by relaxing their young patients and diverting attention away from a potentially upsetting event. Law enforcement personnel have also been grateful to have the bears available when they are working with children experiencing a crisis.
Where Hug-A-Bear is Active
Bears are distributed by the following: Summit County Ambulance, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center ER, St. Anthony Breckenridge Clinic, St. Anthony Keystone Clinic, and Summit County Sheriff’s office. Other participating groups include St. Anthony Copper Mountain Clinic, Silverthorne Police, Dillon Police, Breckenridge Police, Frisco Police, Colorado State Patrol, Dillon and Red, White and Blue Fire Departments.
Our Reach and How to Get Involved
Since 2012, Summit County Seniors has received over $15,000 in funding for this program from Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV). Other contributors include Alpine Bank and the Summit Rotary Club. We have delivered over 1,500 bears since 2016. If you would like to help the Hug-A-Bear program, fill out our contact form or call our office at (970) 668-2940.