If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call 988 for 24/7 free and confidential crisis support. You do not have to be suicidal to call. Access more info and resources on suicide prevention, emotional and mental health support

toggle mobile menu Menu
toggle search menu

Site Navigation



Blog Post

St. Luke’s Blogs

Better Together

Highlights from St. Luke’s and our community partners to improve health.

Bellevue Elementary students give ‘Bear Hugs’ on Valentine’s Day

By Joy Prudek, News and Community
February 25, 2020

Every year students at Bellevue Elementary buy a gift of comfort for someone they may never know or meet. 

Students purchase stuffed bears with their money they earn through chores. They even name their bears, adding the names to a laminated ‘Bear Hug’ tag that reads: “We hope it brings you comfort, knowing you have friends who care.”

The bears are donated to organizations that encounter children involved in crisis situations, including St. Luke’s Wood River, Bellevue Marshalls, the Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence, Silver Creek High School and The Cove at Cascadia.

These organizations were entrusted to pass along more than 170 fluffy bears, donated by the students and local businesses.

“We live in a small community that takes care of each other,” said Patty Gilman, Bellevue Elementary librarian. “Sometimes a child needs comfort but it can be tough to ask for; we strive to teach the students about caring for others in the community, regardless of whether we know them or not.”

Members of the Bellevue Elementary fifth-grade Cub Council leadership group even made a video about the ‘Bear Hugs’ effort.

Dr. Deb Robertson, medical director of St. Luke’s Wood River Emergency Department and nurse manager Angela Brady attended the bear donation assembly at Bellevue Elementary. 

“When a child is in the emergency department, it usually isn’t fun because they are sick or have a broken bone so when we can give them a bear, it makes them so much happier and it makes them feel better about being there,” Dr. Robertson told the children. “Every time we hand one of these out, we will think of you and your thoughtful generosity.”

About The Author

Joy Prudek is the manager of public relations for St. Luke's Wood River.