Bears Volunteers Honored

Bears of Hope’s annual Bears Camp & Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon was held on April 2 at McCormick & Schmick’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant, Westfield Old Orchard.

At Bears Camp, volunteers sewed and stuffed bears and got them ready to be delivered to local social service agencies receiving bears for those they serve. The agencies repeatedly tell us how meaningful the bears are to their patients and clients. 

Before lunch, fitness expert, Sharan Tash, told the group the importance of staying fit to keep healthy and strong. She then put the volunteers though a series of stretching and relaxing exercises. Tash is the owner of Tash Fitness ( She provides personal, semi-personal and group training and lots more.

After lunch, Reiner reviewed the Bears last year’s accomplishments. We made over 250 bears for sick children and adults and 66 patriotic-themed bears for veterans to thank them for their service to our nation.  

Reiner thanked the volunteers for being part of Bears of Hope and gave each one a “Volunteer Appreciation Award”.  

McCormick & Schmick’s General Manager, Aaron Torricelli, was also thanked for providing the room and lunch. Torricelli said,  “McCormick & Schmick’s is proud to do what it can for Bears of Hope. What they do is amazing!”


CPAs Help Bears of Hope

On February29, 2016, CPAs at Michael Silver & Company took time off to  help Bears of Hope make bears. The CPAs traced the bear pattern on fabric, stuffed bears and cut out material tags. Founder, Carolyn Reiner, thanked the CPAs for what they did for Bears of Hope.  

Bears volunteers will complete the bears.  The bears will be given to children and adults in crises.  


Students Do A Good Deed

Parkview School 8th grade students wanted to do something for us. We came to the school, located in Morton Grove, Illinois, the day before their holiday break. The students were excited and enjoyed completing the bears. They also wrote letters to go with the bears. Bears volunteers, Sandy and Carolyn, assisted the students.  Carolyn replied, “It was a joy being with the students. They did a great job. We thank them for helping us."

The students finished 24 bears. We sent these bears to the Womens Shelter's who receive our bears.  They give them to the children who come to the shelter with their mothers.


Bears Care About Veterans

Bears of Hope joined Mc Cormick & Schmick’s Skokie location at its “Veteran’s Appreciation Day.” on November 8, 2015. The restaurant gave veterans a complimentary lunch or dinner entre and we gave them a special patriotic bear. Carolyn said, “We’ve been making a limited number of patriotic-themed bears for veterans since 2008. It’s our way of thanking veterans for their service to our nation and to show them how much we care about them.

Story after story was told to Bears volunteers as they thanked and gave veterans their patriotic bear. Bears volunteer, Jamie replied, “I absolutely loved being part of this day to honor veterans. I enjoyed meeting, talking to and thanking them.” Carolyn met a World War II veteran who also served in the Korean War. He said, “I still rememberwhat it was like fighting for freedom. I was proud to serve my country”. 

Restaurant General Manager, Aaron Torricelli, added, “McCormick & Schmick’s restaurants are honoreed to pay tribute to our veterans who have done so much to keep our nation safe.  Having Bears of Hope at our location was a bonus and a huge part of the event that meant so much to the veterans.


Bears Make A Difference

      This is the third year Bears of Hope participated at Make a Difference Day.  This  is an annual event sponsored by USA Today on the fourth Saturday of October. The mission is to unite people to improve the lives of others and celebrate the power of people to make a difference.  Each organization participating decides on its project. 

The Bears Project:  Complete the patriotic bears for veterans and work on bears for sick children and adults. 

We held Make a Difference Day October 24 at North Shore University Skokie Hospital from 11am - 3pm. Students from Oakton Community College and Niles High School District 219 participated with Bears volunteers. Various work stations were set up. Everyone chose which part of the project they wanted to do. Annie’s Pancake House provided a delicious lunch. By the end of the day, we completed our project. 

Bears of Hope mini-bears were given to the students to thank them for helping us. Everyone received a Make a Difference “Certificate of Thanks”