For a young child, experiencing a house fire, tornado or other devastating incident can leave their family turned upside down with the need for some form of comfort. The American Red Cross provides some emotional relief by giving children stuffed animals to help ease their anxiety.

On Friday April 3, Del Mar College’s Child Development/Early Childhood program donated 600 soft, stuffed toys––including teddy bears and other lovable critters, big and small––to the American Red Cross––Coastal Bend-Texas Chapter. Students spent much of their spring semester collecting the furry friends from across the College’s campuses as part of their sixth annual Teddy Bear Drive.

This year’s initiative outpaced last year’s efforts–437 stuffed toys.

“We met this year’s goal of 600 stuffed toys,” says Benita Flores-Muñoz. “Each year, our efforts have resulted with 100 toys added to our annual goal.”

Since beginning the teddy bear drive in 2009, the Child Development/Early Child program has collected over 2,200 stuffed animals for the American Red Cross.

Flores-Muñoz notes donations usually come from across the College’s campuses, including contributions from the Education Society and Occupational Therapy Club, and the surrounding community.

“This year, some of the comforting critters were even donated by members with Texas Storm Volleyball, a league in Victoria, and teachers with the Louise Independent School District,” she says, noting that some of the College’s Child Development/Early Childhood graduates like to keep involved with the program.

No matter where the menagerie of stuffed toys came from, they’ll all provide a child with comfort when they’re needed most.