The Teddy Bear Care Foundation distributes toys every year to families with a child battling cancer.
This year, it is giving gifts to more than 200 children at a holiday drive-through event and is sponsoring 35 families in the Project Christmas program.
The foundation is seeking community donations of $25 Amazon gift cards to give to teenagers and new, unwrapped toys (also valued at $25) for kids ages 6-11.
Project Christmas is extra valuable to the families this year. It helps alleviate financial stress for the families and save them the trip to the store — a daunting task with a sick child at home.
The families provide TBCF a wish list from the children. Then the foundation looks for supporters to shop for the family using the list.
Hospital social workers refer the families to the program, aware of their needs.
“Our goal is to make this holiday as special as possible for our families,” said Dr. Corey Pahanish, TBCF executive director. “This has been a particularly difficult year for them, and when you add COVID-19 on top of the already traumatic experience of having a child with cancer, you can only imagine how much more bleak Christmas could be. We want to change that.”
In addition to the gifts, the families get a Christmas tree, festive lights, a $50 grocery gift card, stockings, hot chocolate and candy canes. They are all delivered in time for the kids to have a special Christmas morning.
“Getting to deliver Project Christmas gifts and trees has been such a highlight of our holiday season for the past seven years.” said Susie Perry, a Ventura resident and longtime TBCF volunteer. “Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation treats each family they serve as if they are their own family. It is such a blessing to work with them each year.”
To donate toys and Amazon gift cards, drop off or ship the gifts to: Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Attn: Holiday Party, 3892 State St., Suite 220, Santa Barbara 93105.
To sign-up to donate, visit teddybearcancerfoundation.org/project-holiday or call 805-962-7466.