T-Birds donate over 1,000 teddy bears

SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Thunderbirds’ Foundation is pleased to announce a donation of over 1,000 teddy bears and stuffed animals to local charitable partners, the culmination of a successful Drive-Thru Teddy Bear Toss presented by Teddy Bear Pools & Spas, that was held on Saturday, December 12th outside of the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield.
This morning, the Thunderbirds’ mascot Boomer, along with staff members, made deliveries of hundreds of stuffed animals to Square One, Center for Human Development (CHD), Boys and Girls Club of Springfield, and the Boys & Girls Club, Family Center in Springfield.
“Our holiday celebrations are looking much different this year, but the Springfield Thunderbirds have proven that with a bit of creativity and careful planning, the children in our community can still experience the magic of the season,” says Kristine Allard, Vice President of Development & Communications, Square One. “We are so grateful to Nate Costa and the entire Thunderbirds community for keeping the tradition of the Teddy Bear Toss alive. Our children will be overjoyed!”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Teddy Bear Toss event was much different than previous years. Instead of tossing the bears onto the ice after the first T-Birds first goal during a home game in December, fans brought their new teddy bears or stuffed animals down and ‘tossed’ them out of their vehicles as part of the Drive-Thru Teddy Bear Toss at the MassMutual Center on the corner of Main St. and Bruce Landon Way. Boomer, the Nicebox Icebox, and front office staff were present to collect donations and properly package and sanitize them. Those that couldn’t make it that day also donated at the Thunderbirds office, at Teddy Bear Pools & Spas in Chicopee, the Springfield Visitor Center, or at New Valley Bank’s new headquarters located in Monarch Place in downtown Springfield.
“The T-Birds and their loyal fans have again stepped up to bring holiday joy to children and families receiving services in CHD programs across western Massachusetts,” said Ben Craft, CHD’s Vice President of Community Engagement. “We deeply appreciate the Thunderbirds organization’s partnership and strong commitment to our community, and we can’t wait to get back to the arena to cheer them on when it’s safe to do so.”
The virtual and drive-thru version of the Teddy Bear Toss kicked off on #GivingTuesday, the annual global movement that encourages people to do good and support nonprofits, encouraging fans that couldn’t physically attend the event to donate to the Thunderbirds’ Foundation and sponsor a bear. Over 250 bears were sponsored by local and national supporters of the Teddy Bear Toss through donations to the Thunderbirds’ Foundation, including a significant number donated by Balise Auto Group.
“We are amazed and grateful at the outpouring of support for the Drive-Thru Teddy Bear Toss” said Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa. “Teddy Bear Toss is a staple event for the Thunderbirds, and our fans came out in full support. We can’t thank our fans, partners, and those that donated to our Foundation enough to be able to bring smiles to children at this time of year.”
The Thunderbirds extend a special thank you to all of their partners that stepped up and were able to make this event a reality, including: Teddy Bear Pools & Spas, Balise Auto Group, Western Mass News, the Springfield Business Improvement District & downtown Visitor’s Center, New Valley Bank & Trust and Dunkin’. The Thunderbirds also would like to thank their teddy bear delivery partner, BMW of West Springfield.
The Thunderbirds Teddy Bear Toss was established in 2016, whereby the Thunderbirds’ first goal in the annual Teddy Bear Toss game results in a celebration of bears being thrown onto the ice. Since starting the tradition four seasons ago, the Thunderbirds have contributed more than 10,000 bears to local Springfield charities. – Courtesy of Springfield Thunderbirds

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