Burbank firefighters and paramedics will have more than 150 teddy bears to assist on emergency calls after six-graders from St. Bernard Catholic School in L.A. donated the stuffed items earlier this month.
Fondly referred to as “teddy bear time,” Dale Maxwell has organized her students each holiday season to collect teddy bears for fire and paramedic personnel to distribute to children during the traumatic emergency calls.
This is Maxwell’s 10th year organizing the collection of stuffed animals from her class.
Maxwell and another teacher had read about the program on a flyer at the Glendale Galleria and was eventually directed by police to the fire department officials who said “bring on the bears,” she recalled.
Paramedic ambulances carry the bears of all shapes and sizes in first-aid compartments.
“Children just need something to hang on to,” said Burbank fire Capt. Ron Bell, who was Maxwell’s point of contact when she first made the call 10 years ago.
St. Bernard Catholic School is located in Glassell Park, just south of Glendale.
Paramedics can go for months without distributing a single bear, and then hand out five in day, Bell said.
The children receive a special tour of the fire station when they drop off the bears and bring at least 100 bears each year.
“We’re called to people because something is wrong,” Bell said. “So they will all go to good.”
This year the number grew when a group of women from Texas heard about the program and had four bags of bears sent to the school, Maxwell said.
“As long as I’m here and there’s a school, there will be teddy bears.”