a teddy bear in a red shirt

Bay Area charities send teddy bears to refugees

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A teddy bear sometimes is more than just a toy, it’s an ambassador for peace.

Soon, 5,000 Syrian refugee children will have a teddy bear to call their own, thanks to fundraising by Congregation Emanu-El’s Tzedek Council and Interfaith Welcome: Bay Area Refugee Support. The two organizations raised $20,000 — which they will use to pay for the manufacture and airlift of the teddy bears to Aqaba, Jordan, where many Syrian refugees have fled.

The action, referred to as a “Bearlift,” is a signature program of San Francisco-based Caring for Children, which has been sending teddy bears to children around the world since 1986.

Samantha Grier of Caring for Children said she hopes the bears will help alleviate the anxiety of the refugee children, who have been forced to flee their homes and “leave behind any sense of safety and security.”

“These children have witnessed violence that no child should experience. In effect, they have lost their childhood,” Grier said. “Teddy bears are a gift that reduces the child’s anger and depression, that can help restore their development into healthy adults.”