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Every year students at Bellevue Elementary buy a gift of comfort for someone they may never know or meet.
Students purchase stuffed bears with their money they earn through chores. They even name their bears, adding the names to a laminated ‘Bear Hug’ tag that reads: “We hope it brings you comfort, knowing you have friends who care.”
The bears are donated to organizations that encounter children involved in crisis situations, including St. Luke’s Wood River, Bellevue Marshalls, the Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence, Silver Creek High School and The Cove at Cascadia.
These organizations were entrusted to pass along more than 170 fluffy bears, donated by the students and local businesses.
“We live in a small community that takes care of each other,” said Patty Gilman, Bellevue Elementary librarian. “Sometimes a child needs comfort but it can be tough to ask for; we strive to teach the students about caring for others in the community, regardless of whether we know them or not.”
Members of the Bellevue Elementary fifth-grade Cub Council leadership group even made a video about the ‘Bear Hugs’ effort.
Dr. Deb Robertson, medical director of St. Luke’s Wood River Emergency Department and nurse manager Angela Brady attended the bear donation assembly at Bellevue Elementary.
“When a child is in the emergency department, it usually isn’t fun because they are sick or have a broken bone so when we can give them a bear, it makes them so much happier and it makes them feel better about being there,” Dr. Robertson told the children. “Every time we hand one of these out, we will think of you and your thoughtful generosity.”
Joy Prudek is the manager of public relations for St. Luke's Wood River.
How do you define health? Physical? Mental? Social? Health goes beyond medical care. It's how we take care of ourselves, how we interact with our communities, how we take care of each other.
Let St. Luke's support your health, however you define it.