Operation Hug

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

  • During the 2022-2023 fiscal year, Assistance League of Kansas City members distributed 4,656 bears to area locations to reassure and comfort children in crisis. At times, ALex bears were given to individuals who just needed extra courage to help them through challenging situations.
  • Over 105,000 children have received a teddy bear to love since the Operation Hug program began in November 1988.

Operation Hug bears serve such a unique purpose!

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 emergency rooms (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 relies on the bears in their facilities to provide extra courage.  Area surgical centers and optometry offices provide Operation Hug bears to children for comfort and a warm, fuzzy bear hug.

2022 –  2023 Program Review


Bears Distributed


Program Started


Dollars Spent

ALex is Loved Everywhere he Serves!

” 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