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Encinitas organization delivering therapeutic teddy bears to Uvalde, Texas

While the community of Uvalde, Texas continues to grieve for the 19 students and two teachers killed in last week's shooting at Robb Elementary School, a North County nonprofit is trying to help by delivering hundreds of therapeutic teddy bears to Uvalde.

“We're taking these now to the Civic Center, where they have a rescue and help set up, and we're going to hand out the cubs there," said Marcella Johnson, the founder of Encinitas-based The Comfort Cub. She spoke to KPBS just before boarding a plane to Texas.

The nonprofit provides therapeutic teddy bears to anyone experiencing a broken heart as a result of a loss or trauma. Volunteers packed more than 900 of the bears for Uvalde.


"We have enough for every student in the school, and we have enough for the staff, and additionally we decided that there's a lot of people that are hurting in the community, so we're also donating another 300," Johnson said.

Johnson started the Comfort Cub after losing her newborn son. She said the weighted teddy bear brought her comfort.

"We actually created the Comfort Cub to help to heal a broken heart. And we're talking about not just metaphorically, but, physically, the broken heart that I got, takotsubo syndrome, from losing a child,” she said.

She hopes the teddy bears will help mend the broken hearts of the community in Uvalde.

Johnson said this wasn't the first time she’d donated Comfort Cubs to families of mass shooting victims. But she said this donation was the largest. We're doing it with the hope that we will get enough donations to cover our costs," she said. "Each cub costs $50 apiece, and we're sending about 1,000 of them. So that's a $50,000 investment from our small nonprofit. So if there's people that want to adopt a Comfort Cub to send to a child in Uvalde, $50 or any portion of that would be so greatly appreciated.”


To sponsor a bear you can text GIVE to 858-223-7744.

Johnson will be delivering the teddy bears in person this week.

The child care industry has long been in crisis, and COVID-19 only made things worse. Now affordable, quality care is even more challenging to find, and staff are not paid enough to stay in the field. This series spotlights people each struggling with their own childcare issues, and the providers struggling to get by.