Fluffy and cuddly teddy bears are wanted by the Carlsbad and Oceanside police departments as they prepare to donate the stuffed animals to sick children after the 21st annual Teddy Bear Drive wraps up Dec. 12.
“Officers hope to collect 100,000 bears and other stuffed animals to cheer some very sick children,” said Kari Ketchum, dispatcher at Carlsbad Police Department.
Ketchum organized the drive for the Carlsbad Police Department, and said last year they received more than 300 teddy bears from community members and city employees.
The stuffed animals are requested to be large enough for a child to cuddle, ideally between 12 and 36 inches.
They must also be new.
To donate a new stuffed toy, visit the Carlsbad Police Department at 2560 Orion Way or the Oceanside Police Department, 3855 Mission Ave., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday until Dec. 12.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Stations are also participating, and teddy bear drop off locations include the Vista Station, 325 South Melrose Drive Ste. 210; the Encinitas Station, 175 North El Camino Real; and the San Marcos Station, 182 Santar Place.
In San Diego, donations can also be dropped off at Rady Children’s Hospital, 3020 Children’s Way, or at Fun Bike Center, 5755 Kearny Villa Road.
A law enforcement teddy bear drive was held Aug. 30 at all Chick-fil-A locations countywide, and the Oceanside Police Department collected six bags of new stuffed toys to add to the teddy bear bin, according to Dulci Fish, crime prevention specialist with the Oceanside Police Department.
“We were happy,” she said. “People aren’t usually prepared for that stuff in August.”
The teddy bear drive usually begins in late November or early December, she said.
On Dec. 13, more than 100 police cars from 22 law enforcement agencies are expected to caravan from the U.S.S. Midway Museum, at 946 North Harbor Drive at 8:45 a.m. and personally deliver the stuffed animals to children at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.
Fish and at least one officer from Oceanside will be driving in the caravan of police cars stuffed with teddy bears, sirens and lights on, as they head to the hospital to help make a sick child smile.
“It’s a fun event,” she said.
The teddy bear drive was started in 1990 by Coronado Officer Brian Hardy, after he noticed only a few toys were inside of a laundry bin used for donations at Rady Children’s Hospital.
Two days later, he was shopping off duty and saw a 50 percent off sale on teddy bears, purchased a dozen of them for the hospital and the following day delivered them in uniform to the kids, according to the San Diego Regional Teddy Bear Drive website.