Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s Project Christmas Spreads Cheer during COVID-19
Source: Teddy Beach Cancer Foundation
Each year, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF) spreads holiday cheer to families in the tri-counties who have a child battling cancer, and their siblings. They look to the community to help secure hundreds of gifts during the months of November and December. This year, their greatest needs are donations of $25 Amazon gift cards for teens and new, unwrapped toys for kids ages 6-11 valued at $25 each. These will be among the gifts given to over 200 children in need at their holiday drive-thru event in December. In addition to the $25 gifts, they will be sponsoring 35 families (85 children) through their Project Christmas Program.
Project Christmas pairs families who have a child with cancer with supporters to help make their holiday dreams come true. This year, TBCF will continue with this tradition of spreading holiday cheer to hundreds of families in the Tri-Counties. The goal of Project Christmas is to alleviate the financial stress, as well as the time and energy associate with shopping for gifts. Often, it is simply not possible for parents to go shopping as they are under severe financial constraints and can’t leave their sick child—COVID-19 has only added to these stresses.
Through their Project Christmas program, TBCF staff and volunteers collect a specific wish list from the children of each family (those with cancer and their siblings). Then, TBCF staff finds supporters to “adopt” a family for the holidays. Families are referred by hospital social workers based on immediate need.
“Our goal is to make this holiday as special as possible for our families,” said Dr. Corey Pahanish, Executive Director, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. “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," said Pahanish.
Adopting a family entails purchasing a gift for the child undergoing cancer treatment, as well as their brothers and sisters. Each child in the family receives gifts valued at $100. Additionally, each adopted family is provided a Christmas tree, Christmas lights, a $50 grocery gift card for a holiday meal, stockings, hot chocolate and candy canes. Lastly, the trees and gifts are delivered by TBCF to the family’s home in time for Christmas!
“Getting to deliver Project Christmas gifts and trees has been such a highlight of our holiday season for the past seven years,” stated Susie Perry from Ventura, a long-time supporter and volunteer with TBCF. “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 valued at $25 each, or to sponsor a family, community members are welcome to drop them off or ship them to: Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Attn: Holiday Party, 3892 State Street, Suite 220, Santa Barbara, CA 93105. To sign-up to donate, please visit their website at www.teddybearcancerfoundation.org/project-holiday or call (805)962-7466.