Currently Bears That Care make two annual trips to Minneapolis area hospitals. Bears That Care sponsor Halloween and Easter time visits to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital and to the Shriners Hospital. On average we put together and pass out approximately 120 goodie bags or stuffed animals between the two hospitals each visit. At the hospitals uniformed and non-uniformed Troopers along with Radio Communication Officers and office support staff pass out the goodie bags containing: coloring books, crayons, stickers, cards, temporary tattoos and small toys. Each child gets one bag or a stuffed animal and their photo taken with a digital camera posing with Smokey Bear or McGruff the Crime Dog. The extra bags are left with the Child Life Specialist to pass out to new admissions or siblings. We now use the next generation of Polaroid cameras, they print out the photo and the kids can watch it develop before their eyes.
A past activity was holding a summer pizza and pop picnic at the Courage Center in Golden Valley. As a part of the Courage Center visit the “campers” get to tour squad cars. This was a favorite activity of the campers after the pizza was gone. We typically served 20 campers and an additional 30 helpers and staff. We bought a mylar balloon for each camper. At each visit Troopers arrived in uniform and plain clothes. District Office personnel have also attended to help pass out goodie bags of candy and little toys. On every visit a Trooper or office person would don the McGruff the Crime Dog and Smokey Bear costume. A digital photograph of the child with Smokey or McGruff was taken while receiving their goodie bags. The photo was printed out and left with the child as a memory of the event.
The most recent visits on October 23rd 2017 to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital and Shriners Hospital went very well. This was also our 30th year of brightening the lives of some special kids! We made up and passed out close to 50 Goodie bags containing: coloring books, crayons, small toys, baseball cards and Beanie Babies. Some of the children were too old for a goodie bag of small toys and coloring books so they recevied a hand made quilt made by the ladies of Immanual Luthern Church in Princeton, MN. The quilts had a large stuffed animal wrapped inside too. Special for this year's visit was the addition of passing out quadcopters to some of the older patients at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. The left over bags were left with Child Life to pass out to future admissions and siblings. Our visits are timed to be close to Easter and Halloween. We have chosen these times because a nurse once told us, the kids get a lot of visitors and attention at Christmas but not at other times.