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Youth at CHPC Property Hold Teddy Bear Drive for Children's Hospital

Portsmouth, Virginia—‘Tis the season to be giving. Ten children at Ansell Gardens, a 78-unit Community Housing Partners (CHPC) property for low-income families, learned this lesson by organizing their community’s first ever Teddy Bear Drive for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD).
The Teddy Bear Drive began as a service-learning project during the children’s after school program, when staff asked them what they would like to do to give back to others less fortunate during the holidays. Some suggested participating in the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, but staff encouraged them to think outside the box and create their own charity event.
“One of the kids suggested collecting toys for CHKD patients, and they all jumped on that idea,” said Anthony White, an AmeriCorps member who works with resident services at Ansell Gardens. “It was totally the kids’ idea, which makes this special.”
The children began collecting teddy bears and stuffed animals after Thanksgiving and to date have collected over 170 new friends for the children who are being treated at CHKD. The donations have come from the community, family and friends, and the children themselves.
Sylvia Gaines, CHPC housing manager, said the Teddy Bear Drive has had enormous support from all of the residents at Ansell Gardens. “Ashley, whose grandmother is a resident of mine, came running up to me one day with a Happy Feet penguin toy she had gotten from McDonald’s and wanted to give it to the children at CHKD,” she said. “All of the residents have really supported this event. In fact, this morning I came to work and found bags with 12 more toys by my office door.”
The Ansell Gardens Teddy Bear Drive will end Dec. 15, at which time the after school program will travel to CHKD to deliver the toys in person. The after school program at Ansell Gardens offers homework help, tutoring and service-learning projects to the children Monday through Thursday, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. CHPC partners with Engrafted Word Ministries, Inc. to provide programs and services to the Ansell Gardens residents.