Build-A-Bear Workshop to donate 300 bears to St. Mary’s Hospital; Two patients from St. Mary’s join Girl Scouts and members from the community to build their own bears
Build-A-Bear Workshop® celebrated the grand reopening of its store at the Roosevelt Field Mall today with a lively community event designed to bring a little extra joy into the lives of the children at St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, the region’s largest provider of specialized care and rehabilitation to children with special needs and medically complex conditions. The event attracted hundreds of excited children, including two cheerful young patients from St. Mary’s—nine-year old Brianna Mohammed and eight-year old Bella McCarthy—who came with their families to create their own stuffed animals.
The children were joined by Girl Scouts and members of other community groups to make a total of 300 customized teddy bears. Through its Stuffed With Hugs ™ program, the company has generously agreed to donate 300 bears, a signal of the depth of its support for St. Mary’s and its patients.
“We are grateful to our new friends at Build-A-Bear Workshop for their generosity and all of the community children who helped to create these wonderful bears for St. Mary’s Kids,” said Jeffrey Frerichs, President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children. “Playtime and therapeutic recreation play an important role in a child’s recovery, and a new teddy bear can take our kids’ minds off their illnesses and allow them to just be kids.”
“Being kids” was exactly what Brianna and Bella did, as they excitedly sped through the store. By looking at the high-spirited and vibrant Brianna one would find it hard to believe that just two weeks ago she was released from the hospital after undergoing surgery. “This is the happiest day I’ve had since leaving the hospital,” she said, as she tightly hugged her newly-created Cream Puff Kitty stuffed animal.
The finished bears were well-received by the girls and their families and came complete with customized scents like strawberry and mint chocolate chip, built-in pre-programmed audio, personalized names chosen by the children and officially printed birth certificates. The families from St. Mary’s were guided through the interactive bear-building process by a team of Build-A-Bear Workshop staff members.
“It’s so important that our kids don’t feel isolated,” said Frerichs. “Even today, they’re enthusiastic about their new bears, but they’re just as excited to be reminded that the community cares.” The bears will be distributed to children in St. Mary’s inpatient, home and community programs.
Community partnerships like today’s initiative with Build-A-Bear Workshop help raise awareness of and support for children with special needs. Today, one out of every five children in the United States has a special healthcare need; St. Mary’s provides ongoing care to many of New York’s most critically ill and injured children.
About Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is the only global company that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience. There are more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Mexico and South America. Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop is the leader in interactive retail. Build-A-Bear Workshop extends its in-store interactive experience online with its award winning virtual world website at bearville.com™.
About Stuffed With Hugs
Stuffed with Hugs™ is a charitable program of Build-A-Bear Workshop now in its twelfth year of helping kids in need around the world by providing teddy bears to children’s causes. Stuffed with Hugs was created to give children the chance to help others. Since Stuffed with Hugs began in 2001, more than 450,000 teddy bears have been made and donated to children in need of a hug.