In the fall of 1996, a local police officer came to SCSC and asked for help with a project:  giving a toy to a child in distress.  In December of that year, the “Give a Kid a Hug” program was born with the purchase of 275 bears.  This program soon became known as the “Hug-a-Bear” program.

The Hug-a-Bear program is a very important part of our community outreach program and our volunteer work.  We purchase the bears and package them to bring wishes for a speedy recovery.  We then distribute them to hospital emergency units, our ambulance services and flight for life teams.  These units give the bears to children who are sick, injured or dealing with a trauma.  Law enforcement personnel have also been grateful to have the bears available when they are working with children in some kind of crisis.  The bears not only bring comfort to the children, but they also assist our local emergency workers by distracting and relaxing their young patients.

In 2015, we distributed  over 500 bears to community members and visitors.  Bears are distributed by the following:   Summit County Ambulance, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center ER, St. Anthony Breckenridge Clinic, St. Anthony Keystone Clinic, and Summit County Sheriff’s office. Other groups which receive bears are: St. Anthony Copper Mountain Clinic, Silverthorne Police, Dillon Police, Breckenridge Police, Frisco Police, and Colorado State Patrol.

This year, we have received funding from Breckenridge Grand Vacations through the Summit Foundation, from Alpine Bank and from the Summit Rotary Club.   We appreciate this assistance which enables us to continue to bring a smile to a child who is suffering.

Kathleen Martynowicz is the program coordinator, and Maggie Cox and Marcia Schutt deliver bears to the hospital and clinics.  If you would like to help, contact Kathleen at (970) 389-8583.