Last year, De Anne Crossman saw a post on the SEH Online Facebook page that sparked an idea. A neighbor had ten Build-A-Bear stuffed animals for sale. De Anne thought it could be a fun project to adopt these bears and get them into new homes at Christmas time. So, she snagged them up and started putting the word out both locally and online that she was collecting these bears for a holiday project with her son Brayden who was then 4 years old.
By Christmas time, 10 bears had turned into 26. De Anne and Brayden collected outfits and prepped the bears for a special trip to the Build-A-Bear Workshop at Fashion Valley where they would be fluffed, stuffed, get new batteries if needed, as well as new names and birth certificates.
The bears were then distributed to the Salvation Army of Escondido where they were given to children in need. Lots of the homes were military families and the project was such a success that Brayden and De Anne decided they would do it again in 2015.
This year the project grew significantly. They were able to refurbish and gift 64 Build-a-Bear bears! The bears were given out through the Salvation Army, a hospital children’s ward and The Angel Tree in San Elijo Hills.
Brayden stayed up into the wee hours helping prep these bears for their new homes. As De Anne shared, “It has been a great hands-on project where Brayden can see the impact he is having.”
This year De Anne and Brayden hope to expand their project even further by partnering with Scout troops, Indian/Princess Guides and other service organizations to bring the project to more children. Lots of new opportunities have opened up to make this a project to benefit children year-round – such as children who are cancer patients, etc.
They would love to have your support. If you would like to get your own children engaged in a project like this or you would like to support the project in some capacity (identifying resources or connections to those in need), please contact De Anne through her Facebook page.
The Crossman family is relocating soon to Georgia because of a new job, but they will still be coordinating this project here locally as this is where all of De Anne’s current connections are located. The exciting thing is that this project is now bound to grow even further with the new relocation.
Nice work you two! Thanks for sharing your Build-A-Bear project with the community and helping put these Build-A-Bears into the hands of children who really benefit from the gesture of generosity and love.