In 1988, ALSJ adopted its third program, Operation Hug.
The purpose of the program was to furnish huggable bears to adults and children in crisis. We began donating to the San Jose Police Department (SJPD) who, in a press conference shared that teddy bears donated by AL of San Jose would be used by officers when they encountered children who had suffered physically or psychologically such as accident victims, assault victims and children who experienced stressful situations. The Los Gatos Police Dept. also developed Operation Hug with bears that we donated.
In April 2004, 16 years later, the name of the program Operation Hug was changed to Hug-A-Bear. At that time, approximately 30 dozen bears were given out a year. A director of Rape Crisis commented at the time, ”Each time any counselor, or I, responds to a child at the hospital who has been sexually assaulted, we are acutely aware that that child’s healing will take a long time. But, those cute teddy bears that you’ve helped us place in their arms will remain a giver of unconditional love throughout the healing process.”