The Story of Huggy Bear. Huggy Bear was first created in the mind of the author, Becky Lawrence. She was going to work at an orphanage in Guatemala for ten days in 2001 when her youngest daughter, Kelsey was only 7 years old. Because this was the first time away from her Mom, Becky bought a big teddy bear and dubbed him “Huggy Bear” which she told her daughter contained 10 hugs; one for each day she was to be gone from home. That satisfied her then seven year old daughter, and she thought nothing more about it for 11 years until their first foster daughter came to live with them in June 2012. The young girl was 5 years old and had a difficult time sleeping at night because she was accustomed to sleeping with her 11 year old sister. Becky tried every thing for the first few nights, but nothing worked, until she remembered Huggy Bear. She told the little girl that Huggy Bear and Jesus would watch over her as she slept, and would keep her safe, and it worked. That Christmas when asked the girl what she wanted for Christmas, she replied that she would like her very own Huggy Bear. Becky tried to find the exact bear, but he had been retired. She found one similar, and she never noticed he wasn’t exactly the same. As different children came into the home, Huggy Bear became a “must” and as Becky would find one at a garage sale or on-line, she would purchase them. Later, she would write a poem that went with Huggy Bear, and eventually, wrote a book which her sister, Kim Carman illustrated.
In 2013, the Lawrences moved to Georgia and so did Huggy Bear. It became apparent that there was something really special about the bear and book when their church, Subligna Baptist hosted the Chattooga County Foster Family Christmas, and the book and bear was given to all the children. Because they had not yet had the idea to make their own bear, they collected new and gently used bears (75 in total), all different colors, sizes and shapes and cleaned them and added new bows if necessary. When Santa (aka Philip Lawrence), read the story of Huggy Bear and the elves started pulling out all those bears giving them to the children, something simply magical or divinely inspired happened. Each child started to hug their bear and did not even notice that they were not the same. We heard children began to say things like, “this is my new best friend” or “is this my very own huggy bear?”. We sat in stunned silence as we watched it all unfold.
Philip had 20 years of experience in the garment industry and he put that experience and knowledge to work. He drew the pattern and made the first prototype. After many trials and revisions to try to optimize the very expensive material, Huggy Bear was complete. In May 2014, Subligna once again hosted the Foster Parents and children for Foster Parent Appreciation month, and by that time, Philip had made his first bear. Becky brought the bear to show the adults and as she was sitting with him in her lap, a wide-eyed little girl came up to her and stated, that is a great bear to which Becky replied, he is isn’t he? The little girl then preceded to say, I know who he is, that’s Huggy Bear. Even though the bear, she had received the previous Christmas was totally different, she recognized him as Huggy Bear.
Many, many bears have been given away since 2013, and each time the story never ceases to bring a tear to our eyes or warm our hearts. Like a little girl who lost her dad to cancer, and we shipped her a bear, which just so happened to deliver on a Saturday (which we did not pay to do), and it just so happened to arrive at her birthday party. Her mom said there was not a dry eye in the house. Or, the two children who had been adopted out of foster care, and our machine had broken and it was several weeks, after they had been requested before ,we could deliver them, but it just so happened to be at a time that the boys were having a difficult time adjusting to the adoption. The grandmother began to cry and said, your timing could not have been more perfect.
IT JUST SO HAPPENED…… God’s timing is always perfect. That little bear is just stuffed full of love, not just any love, God’s love. He is Huggy Bear, and he is…..a great bear.
We give these bears to any child that has suffered a trauma or is having a difficult time, but we cannot do without your prayers and donations to this project. Many times we have to wait when we receive a request, until we can purchase the material or other supplies. Each bear cost about $20 to make, but we have to buy the materials in bulk to receive the best price. You can donate through this ministry, just note on the donation “Huggy Bear”. We are a 501c3, so your donation is tax deductible. That does not mean that you cannot purchase a bear for a child. Know that for every purchase you make of $40 will ensure another child receives one free.
Thank you so very much for your support, and if you know if a child in need of a hug from this special bear, please contact us. You can see pictures on our Facebook page or through Transforming Hearts General Store facebook page.