Operation Hug

Operation Hug provides new bears, named “ALex,” to comfort children in crisis.

  • During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, Assistance League of Kansas City members distributed 2,967 bears to area locations to comfort children who were ill, or who were involved in accidents or other traumatic situations. At times, ALex bears were given to children who just needed a little extra courage to help them through a scary situation, or to senior adults struggling with loneliness.
  • Over 100,000 children and senior adults have received a teddy bear to love since the Operation Hug program began in November 1988.

Operation Hug bears serve such a unique purpose!

In area elementary schools throughout the North Kansas City, Park Hill, Liberty, Excelsior Spring, and West Platte school districts, our ALex bears are used by school social workers and counselors, as well as school nurses, when working with students who are going through tough situations or who are experiencing trauma.  Operation Hug bears provide comfort and tangible reassurance – something to hold onto – when problems feel too big and circumstances feel out of control.

single bear-1

Kansas City area hospital ER’s (including Children’s Mercy Hospital, Liberty, North Kansas City, St. Luke’s North, and University Health) count on our ALex bears to give comfort to their young patients.  Children’s Mercy Hospital’s transport teams also use our bears to provide companionship for anxious children.  Ronald McDonald House rely on the bears in their facility to provide a little needed courage, and area surgical centers, optometry offices, fire departments, and police officers provide Operation Hug bears to children experiencing all sorts of situations in which some extra comfort and a warm, fuzzy bear hug are so appreciated.

2021 –  2022 Program Review


Bears Distributed


Program Started


Dollars Spent

ALex is Loved Everywhere he Serves!

“We would like to give a special thanks to Operation Hug! Your gracious gift of bears provides support and comfort to our students when they are down. The bears also serve a specific purpose in classroom calm-down areas so that students can return to instruction and continue to learn. Again, let me reiterate the importance of Operation Hug to our school, students, and community.” – Social Worker at Crestview and Briarcliff Elementary Schools.

” ALex is always a pleasant surprise to the children. Especially
once the child learns the soft cuddly bear is a gift they can take home.” –  Director of Community Engagement with University Health Hospital


My daughter received a bear when she was two and had tubes put in her ears.  She picked it up that day when she was scared and unsure of everything and has not put it down since.  She absolutely loves that bear!!  Thank you for this service and for helping provide comfort to my little girl when nothing else could. – a grateful mom


“Last night my daughter was in the hospital with a nasty stomach bug.  Once the hospital staff got her feeling better, they came by with an adorable little bear for her.  It totally brightened her night.  I want to thank your group for providing such a nice bear for her.  She is actually holding onto it now as she naps.  Your kindness has put a smile on her sick little face and has touched my heart tremendously.  Thank you for your generosity.” – a thankful mom


“Our transport team was very excited to get the Hug bears as they have been very busy with ambulance and helicopter transports lately and love to have stuffed animals to give as a buddy for their patients while in the vehicles. Transport staff has stated that by giving a soft cuddly stuffed animal, the fears of patients are lessened and it helps make that connection between staff and patients quicker. Patients are often fearful in these situations and are often without a parent or caregiver. This stuffed friend gives patients something to hold and snuggle.” – Stephanie Easley, from the Department of Philanthropy at Children’s Mercy Kansas