‘Tots’ campaign picks up steam

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SANDPOINT — After the Pennsylvania Hershey Bears sent the puck deep into the net, thousands upon thousands of teddy bears and other stuffed animals began raining from the stands.

Soon, the hockey players were diving into the massive piles of bears, stuffies and other critters that carpeted the ice after the Bears scored their first goal of the game. So many toys were tossed onto the ice, it delayed the game by about 40 minutes as the team’s Teddy Bear Toss — a beloved holiday tradition in Hershey — set a new world record with 45,650 bears.

The “exuberant downpour” of the stuffed critters took place just eight minutes into a game against the Binghamton Devils earlier this month, reported goodnewsnetwork.org.

“Hit the crossbar,” the announcer calls, his voice rising in excitement as the Hershey Bear sends the puck into the net to tie the score 1-1. “Rebound. He scooooooooorrrrrrrres.”

“It’s Teddy Bear Toss Time … and the fans are letting them fly,” screams the announcer. “It’s raining stuffed animals in Chocolate Town. What a beautiful sight.”

Determined to top the 35,000 bears tossed in 2018 — itself a world record — fans threw so many stuffed animals that the game was delayed by 40 minutes. The stuffed animals, which broke the 2018 record by more than 10,000 stuffed animals, are being distributed to about 40 different charities to make the holiday season bright for children in the Hershey area.

According to Wikipedia, the idea dates bake to a 1993 game with the Kamloops Blazers, thanks to marketing director Don Larson. The first recorded teddy bear toss occurred on Dec. 5 of that year when a goal by Brad Lukowich prompted fans to throw over 2,400 bears onto the ice, the website notes.

The tradition became a fan and team favorite in the Canadian Hockey League, and around the world, except for the National Hockey League.

Here in Bonner County, we don’t need to wait for a hockey game to help others, we just need to join forces with the great folks at the Sandpoint Lions Club. Each year, thanks to the generosity of local residents and businesses, every child in the Lake Pend Oreille School District will have a merry Christmas.

And that generosity continues today with a whopping $2,475 donated by this amazing community, brining the total to date for this year’s Toys for Tots drive up to $7,296.13. Generous donations were received from:

Debra Moy and Steven Hein, $250; Doreen Dugan, $25; Paul and Nancy Thompson, $100; Stewart Tollbom, $50; Randy and Kim Powers, in memory of their beautiful daughter Kara, $50; Steve and Tamara Verby, $500; Jack and Janice Debaun, $200; Dover Bay, $250; anonymous, $750; Linda Blessing and Bruce Hensley, $200; and Laura and John Phillips, $100.

The goal for this year’s campaign is $50,000 — the same as it has been in past years. The Lions make the most of the money by shopping bargains, and with the assistance of generous local businesses. The Lions make the most of the money by shopping bargains, and with the assistance of generous local businesses. The Toys for Tots program provides free new toys for children living in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, from Sandpoint to Clark Fork and all points in-between. A Christmas dinner for the family is also provided.

If you know someone, or need help yourself, the Lions are taking applications for the 2018 Toys for Tots program. Members are at the Lions Den, 607 S. Ella Street in Sandpoint, on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, until Monday, Dec. 17 Applications are also available at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare office, 207 Larkspur St., Ponderay.

Donations for Toys for Tots can be dropped off at the front desk at the Bonner County Daily Bee, 310 Church St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also drop off donations at Columbia Bank’s main branch in Sandpoint, 414 Church St., or at the Ponderay branch, 300 Bonner Mall Way; and at Mountain West Bank, 476655 Highway 95, Ponderay.

Donations may be mailed to the Sandpoint Lions Club, Box 414, Sandpoint, ID 83864.

Donations made by check are preferred. Be sure to include a note with your check indicating that it is a Toys for Tots donation. If you wish to make an anonymous donation, please include a note.

If the donation is being made in someone’s name, be sure to also include a note.

Information: Sandpoint Lions Club, 208-263-4118

Caroline Lobsinger can be reached by email at clobsinger@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @CarolDailyBee.

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