Teddy Bear Toss

Hundreds of donated stuffed teddy bears filled the gymnasium floor during Southwestern's men's basketball game Saturday. 

COOS BAY — Hundreds of stuffed animals were thrown Saturday afternoon in celebration of Southwestern Oregon Community College’s fourth annual Teddy Bear Toss to benefit Bay Area Hospital’s Kids’ HOPE Center and its pediatric unit.

The event, which is hosted by Southwestern's Junior Chamber of Commerce and its Associated Student Government, encouraged spectators at Saturday’s basketball game between the Southwestern Lakers and the Clark Penguins to toss their stuffed animals during the game’s halftime presentation.

Barbara Bauder, the chief development officer at BAH, said the stuffed animals help provide comfort to children who come into the hospital or the center.

“It’s been proven that when children have something that is soft, cuddly and their own that it helps them alleviate a lot of stress,” she said.  

Last year, nearly 3,000 children were seen in its emergency department and approximately 200 kids were admitted to its pediatric unit, according to a press release by BAH.

North Bend Councilor Jessica Engelke and faculty adviser for Southwestern's Junior Chamber of Commerce said the event not only raises awareness of the services provided the Kids’ HOPE Center, but it also attracts folks to visit Southwestern's campus.

An unwrapping and count of all the donated stuffed animals will take place Wednesday at the center where students involved with the Junior Chamber of Commerce will also get a chance to tour the facility.

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.