YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Children who end up in the emergency room at White Plains Hospital could be met by a Teddy Bear to cuddle, thanks to gift from the Yorktown Elks Lodge #2324.
The local Elks used a $2,000 grant from the Elks National Foundation to purchase 144 "Friendly" bears from the Stuffington Bear Factory in Phoenix, Ariz.
"Not only did we want to get Teddy bears, but we wanted to get bears made in the USA and support American workers," said Paul Egan, Exalted Ruler of the Yorktown Elks Lodge, adding six Elks were involved in the project.
He said they called local Hudson Valley hospitals first, but couldn't find one that could take a stuffed animal donation.
"White Plains had a setup in place and said they would use them in the emergency room," Egan said. "Katie Bello from the Foundation Office handled everything and she was just great."
Egan said they dropped off three big boxes and they hope to do it again next year. In the past, they used to give dictionaries to school children, but with the internet and the growth of electronic devices, the need isn't there anymore.
"Who doesn't want a Teddy bear? We look forward to doing this again," said Egan.
Stuffington Bear Factory gave the Elks a discount on the 144-bear order, and the Arizona company was an overall better price than Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, which is also a US company.
"We basically searched the internet for bears made in the USA and then went with the best price," he said.
Elks invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, by undertaking projects that address unmet needs, and by honoring the service and sacrifice of veterans. To be eligible for membership, people must be a US citizen over the age of 21 who believes in God.
The Elks Lodge #2324 is located at 590 Waverly Road, Yorktown Heights.