Teddy Bear Toss spectacular way to help stuff Christmas hampers

Dave Butler, chair of the local Habitat for Humanity, and Susan Platt, the Salvation Army’s community and family services co-ordinator, help launch the 17th annual Teddy Bear Toss at Lambton Ford. The event will be held Dec. 7 at the RBC Centre. Marco Vigliotti

Marco Vigliotti

A deluge of faux fur is set to blanket the RBC Centre when the annual Teddy Bear Toss returns next month.

The event sponsored by Lambton Ford and now in its 17th year will sees fans hurl stuffed animals onto the ice after the Sarnia Sting score against the Sault Ste. Marie during their Dec. 7 match.

All the collected animals are donated to local charities, including the Salvation Army, which delivers the stuffed critters to children in about 800 families receiving Christmas hampers.

“We’re talking a lot of bears. There’s (usually) three per basket,” said Susan Platt, the group’s community and family services coordinator. “For the 800 families … we’re talking at least 2,400 bears.”

As many as 4,000 bears have been hurled on the ice and they’re always a huge hit with children, she said.

“There’s nothing nicer than a teddy bear that you can squeeze and hug.”

The Sarnia-Lambton chapter of Habitat for Humanity is also looking to the event to churn up donations. The group will sell stuffed animals for $10, or two for $15, during both the Dec. 5 and 7 Sting home games.

“If you’ve ever been to the game when they throw the bears on the ice, it’s just a blast,” Dave Butler, chair of the Habitat for Humanity board, said with a smile. “The goal scores and it rains bears.”

Proceeds will fund construction of Habitat’s Chris Dawkins Memorial Youth Build housing project on 237 East St. South. It is the 32nd home undertaken by the local affiliate of the charitable organization.