When Ben Thorne’s family checked with Fairview Hospital soon after he collected and donated 62 stuffed bears and animals in mid-October, they were surprised to learn only four bears were left.
Understanding the need, and realizing that flu season is rapidly approaching, the Thorne family of Avon is opting to continue the stuffed animal drive and include more west side hospitals.
Ben’s Bears was born out of his desire to have people donate animals in lieu of birthday presents for his Sept. 11 birthday.
“I wanted to do something nice,” the fourth grader at Avon’s Heritage South Elementary School, said in October. “I didn’t want any presents. I decided to donate to the hospital and they said ‘bring in bears.’”
The bears were quickly distributed.
The Thornes, of Avon, realized there was a continued need for the bears, which were distributed to hospitalized children.
“Obviously that showed us that there is a real need and yet we are only just now approaching flu & sick season,” Ben’s mother, Erin Thorne, said. “Our goal this time is to be able to share the wealth with other west side hospitals if the collections are big and successful.”
And with that, Ben’s Bears will continue, with expanded drop off places where people can donate brand new (with manufacturer’s tags attached) stuffed animals.
Animals must be new (not gently used) for the health and safety of the young patients.
“Fairview will be our first donation since they have been so supportive and excited throughout the entire process with Ben,” Erin said. “We feel that the reach and participation this time around is on a much bigger scale, so we are prepared for this to be potentially a very big collection.”
Ben's school, Avon Heritage South, students will be participating with an in-school drive Dec 10-20. And Ben's older brother Jack's school, Avon Middle School, is currently running the bear drive for the students as well.
The Thornes have organized with different businesses for drop-off points on the west side. Locations include Avon, Avon Lake, Lakewood, Rocky River, Westlake and North Ridgeville. (No donations at the public schools, please.)
Click here to see his efforts, featured on Channel 3, WKYC.
Stuffed animal drop off locations:
Menchies Frozen Yogurt: Offering 10% off yogurt purchase with a bear donation at these four Menchies locations:
- 20649 Center Ridge Road, Rocky River
- 15008 Detroit Road, Lakewood
- 35925 Detroit Road #117, Avon
Menchies is the only Westlake drop-off location, but drop offs are also at the following nearby businesses:
- Ed Tomko Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram 33725 Walker Road, Avon Lake
- Automotive Events 19111 Detroit Road Suite 306, Rocky River
- North Ridge Racquet Club 5475 Mills Creek Lane, North Ridgeville
- Kim's Martial Arts School 1180 Jaycox Road, Avon
- Arz Salon & Retreat 36000 Westminister Avenue, North Ridgeville
- The Little Gym of Avon, 2100 Center Road, Avon