Operation Bear Hug

A Gift of Comfort

Huggable bears are currently being donated to Loma Linda, Southwest Healthcare System (Rancho Springs, Inland Valley), Temecula Valley Hospital ERs, Trauma Intervention Program (T.I.P.) and Temecula Valley Pediatric Outpatient Surgery Unit.

Emergency room nurses can give children comfort during a scary visit to the ER. The bears are MRI-certified, meaning they are made without materials such as magnets or metals. As a plus for younger children, the bears are made without detachable pieces. Francine Ruiz, a Loma Linda emergency room RN, is very enthusiastic about her appreciation of the bears. She said, “The children that come through the emergency department love the bears; they really do make a difference to our pediatric patients!”

During 2021/2022 fiscal year, 1,325 bears were distributed. “These are not necessarily just for children who have been injured,” the program chairman said, “these are for any child going through traumatic circumstances.”

A note received via Assistance League’s Facebook sums up the effect of the bears on the children. “My son was in the hospital last night and he had to get an IV and a few other tests done, he was crying and scared. The hospital gave him a bear from your organization and it cheered him up. He wanted to write you a letter and thank you for the bear which he loves so much. The letter says “Thank you for my bear. Thank you for helping me when I was sick -Dustin” Thank you so much for the bear, it made a huge difference in his night and he is sound asleep with it right now.”