Kappa Sigma hosting third annual Teddy Bear Drive

Erin Zaranec

Kent State’s Kappa Sigma fraternity is hosting its third annual Teddy Bear Drive to support patients at University Hospitals, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

Donations will be accepted through the end of the semester and donated to hospitals on New Year’s Eve. All donations must be purchased new and unopened in order to meet sanitation requirements.

The Teddy Bear Drive started in 2013 when the chapter’s service chair was looking for a way to get more members involved. After coming up with the idea, the men received approval from the hospital and even struck up a partnership with Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters hockey team.

Throughout the holiday season, the Monsters collect children’s toys to donate to children’s charities throughout the season. At the Dec. 11 game against the Chicago Wolves, fans will participate in Chuck-A-Bear, allowing fans to receive a discount ticket with the donation of a teddy bear. At this game, all donations are collected after the first goal scored by the Monsters when fans ‘chuck’ all of their bears onto the ice.

Last year, the fraternity received approximately 1,000 donations from the Chuck-A-Bear event.

Although the fraternity’s primary philanthropy is the Greater Cleveland Fisher House, a nonprofit organization providing free lodging for families of veterans seeking medical attention, the men have had great success with the Teddy Bear Drive.

The fraternity collected 2,200 bears in their first year and continued to expand last year, collecting 2,390 bears for patients. This year, they hope to collect 2,500 or more.  

“I had the opportunity last year to go to the hospital and drop them off… and it was really great just walking around the hospital and seeing the difference it made,” said Jonah Hartswick, a senior economics major who currently serves as the chapter’s treasurer. “It wasn’t just kids, either. There were older adults who we could tell weren’t having a good day, and once we asked them if they wanted a teddy bear, it was amazing to see how much a teddy bear could brighten a 60-year-old’s day.”

For the fraternity, though, it is all about making patient’s holiday season a little brighter.

“Kappa Sigma feels privileged and honored to be able to host an event that can help out children by giving them teddy bears,” said Reginald Jones, a junior communication studies major and member of Kappa Sigma.

For more information on how to donate, contact Jonah Hartswick at [email protected].