Women supply hospital with stuffed animals

Argen Duncan

A gift of a stuffed animal calms children at Roosevelt General Hospital.

Three women have been keeping the RGH emergency room supplied with handmade bears.

Jeri Prince of Portales said she, Jean Hardin and Barbara Strand meet once or twice a month and make more than 40 “Hug-a-Bears” as part of the Qwest TelecomPioneers community service group.

“Before we pack them, they get a hug and they’re sanitized,” she said of the bears.

Over the 35-plus years of their bear-making, Prince said, they’ve provided teddies to law enforcement, ambulance crews and, their focus now, RGH.

Once, Prince said, she was in the emergency room, and a mother brought in two screaming children. A nurse gave them bears, and the children calmed down.

Prince said she’s seen the bears work and it’s a joy to help in the emergency room.

When RGH Administrator Larry Leaming heard about the effort, he said it was wonderful. It’s nice to have something to give upset children to hold on to and make them feel better, he said.

“These are the kinds of things that make a community hospital stand apart,” Leaming said.

Big hospitals may feel impersonal, he continued, but little touches such as the bears make local hospitals feel like home.