Teddy Bear Toss helps thousands of Toledo area children

Published: Dec. 5, 2016 at 4:35 PM EST
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You've probably heard about hockey fans in Detroit tossing octopus onto the ice Here in Toledo, Walleye fans throw out stuffed animals once a year. It's called the Teddy Bear Toss, and this year's event was a big success.

More than 3,000 stuffed animals were tossed onto the ice on Saturday. Monday they were all given away.

Fans threw 3,026 toys onto to ice after the Walleye's first goal. Actually, it was 3,027 toys but more on that later.

All the stuffed animals are going to help children in the community.

Jared Nightingale is Captain of the team, "Every week we are trying to do something to help give back. We go to hospitals, we do events like this, and we read to children. It's the least we can do to give back to Toledo. We realize that the Walleye are looked up to by kids, and we take that seriously."

Some of the stuffed animals were given to both Lucas and Wood County Children Services. Julie Malkin is the Public Information Officer for Lucas County Children's Services,"We use them for kids in a number of different situations. For example, kids who have to go for medical testing. We all know that can be very scary. We also hand them out during the holidays and when children are adopted . Getting this donation once a year from the Walleye and their fans is so important to us. We really do use these toys throughout the year."

The Toledo Fire and Police Departments were also given some of the toys to hand out. Officer Jim Below says the officers get as much as they give from the program,"Handing off these toys and watching their faces light up in big smiles is great for all of us. It's an awesome feeling for them and us."

Now back to the issue of the grand total of stuffed animals collected.

One toy was accidentally tossed out onto the ice. It was recovered today. Rob Wiercinski is the Community Relations Manager for the team,"This lost Spike toy was accidentally tossed on to the ice. It belongs to a 4-year-old girl and we've made sure to get her Spike back into her hands."

A happy ending for that little girl and hopefully the thousands of other kids who will receive one of these toys, "We all need to be comforted sometimes. For children in tough situations, like those who have to be removed from their homes, these bears are very important, The Walleye organization does such great things for a lot of organizations. We can't thank them enough. They really make a difference for the children we help."

The other organizations that received stuffed animals from the Teddy Bear Toss are The Salvation Army, Family House and Aurora House.