There is something magical that every stuffed toy bear brings to its owner; but to a disadvantaged person, child or adult, the effect is passionately special. This is the inspiration that the Bears of Joy of SM Supermalls, through its SM Cares CSR arm, bring to every recipient.
For several years now, SM has been giving its special edition stuffed toy bear aptly called Bears of Joy to chosen depressed communities and partner organizations where an SM mall operates. This year, there are a total of 66 communities nationwide that will be receiving Bears of Joy for the yuletide. Some of the recipients will be 176 students with special needs of Lagro Elementary School, through the Autism Society of the Philippines (ASP) Lagro Chapter.
Marieta F. Tan, head of the ASP Lagro Chapter, said that this is the second time that the school will be receiving the special bears from SM. Judging from last year’s response from the recipients and their parents, Tan expects to see more happy smiles from the children with autism.
“It’s truly special because the toy bears are given in person by people from SM themselves. The kids really treasure the toys they are given, especially when they see that they are from SM. Once they see the brand, they already feel they belong,” Tan affirms. “They are familiar with SM since we are always invited to mall events where the kids get free entertainment and fun activities.”
ASP is only one of several PWD organizations that are being supported by SM Cares. The annual Angels Walk is especially held for ASP members.
Tan explains that something as simple as a toy bear can help a lot in taking care of a child with autism. “The bear serves as their companion – a close friend and confidante. The toy bears somehow calm them down whenever they have emotional breakdowns,” Tan said.
According to Tan, this particular project of SM Cares “has heart because they really think of ways to support PWDs and their families. Naiintindihan nila ang pangangailangan ng mga bata. Napakalaking bagay nito sa kanila.”
The SM Bears of Joy are being sold as pairs in participating SM malls nationwide. For every pair sold, one goes to the customer while the other goes to a recipient from an adopted community or organization.