This unique and compassionate program was established in 1990 by Officer Brian Hardy from the Coronado Police Department and Children’s Hospital. Over the years, interest and support for this event has grown tremendously and is now a law enforcement tradition. The Teddy Bear Drive involves police, sheriff, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in San Diego County and countless other sponsors.
The Teddy Bear Drive’s original focus was to provide teddy bears to children spending time in the hospital during the holiday season with a police caravan of stuffed animals to the hospital in December. In order to spread the joy of interacting with law enforcement officers, once a month a different law enforcement agencies volunteer to distribute the teddy bears to the children who are currently admitted into the hospital. This allows for more officers to interact with the children and their families. These monthly visits allow more children to be able to enjoy the experience of receiving a teddy bear from an officer. The teddy bears are also distributed all year long by hospital staff. One bear can make a difference in a child’s eyes and can enhance the healing process. The goal is to keep Rady Children’s Hospital stocked all year long with new unused teddy bears and stuffed animals.
The public can donate new teddy bears at the front counter of any Police Department in San Diego County. The Regional Law Enforcement Teddy Bear Committee is also looking for businesses or groups who would be interested in assisting them in the collection of new teddy bears throughout the year as well as business sponsors that could help defray promotional costs for the ongoing events of the drive.