John Ball Zoo today delivered more than 900 teddy bears and stuffed animals to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital to bring comfort to children throughout their stay in the hospital.
The stuffed animals were collected to honor the life of Yogi, a longtime brown bear at John Ball Zoo. The Zoo collected new stuffed animals throughout the month of October and delivered them in large vans on Friday.
“We are heartened that our community showed so much support and love for Yogi, who was a beloved member of our Zoo family, and the children at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital,” said Jaime Racalla, zookeeper supervisor at John Ball Zoo. “We hope these teddy bears bring some comfort for children and their families as they navigate health issues. Thank you to our community for supporting John Ball Zoo’s remembrance of Yogi.”
Helen DeVos accepts donations year-round for comforting and fun items with their tags attached for children who are staying at the hospital.
“We greatly appreciate the support and kindness in donating stuffed animals commemorating the special zoo bear, Yogi. These stuffed animals comfort our kids during their admission and aid in the healing process, and we could not do this without the help of the community,” said Jeannine Brown, child life special project coordinator, Corewell Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. “We pass out many stuffed animals every day to brighten a child’s stay especially if they forgot their treasured stuffed animal or lovey at home. Thank you for helping us make their hospital stay a little bit better with something to hold and hug.”