Close to 3,000 teddy bears are poised to be adopted in Central New York’s greatest event of generosity, the Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau, scheduled for this Monday, December 19, 2016 at the OnCenter in downtown Syracuse.
The plush toys were collected from the ice at last Saturday’s Syracuse Crunch hockey game against the Utica Comets (The Crunch won, 4-3), and have been cleaned, repaired and refurbished at Stanley Steemer of Syracuse. Steemer’s expert technicians use their skills to clean every toy, disinfect and dry them, so that they are in as close to “like new” condition as possible.
Once the toys are completely done, they are bagged and transported to the OnCenter, where volunteers separate them by age-appropriateness, and bag them for distribution at the Christmas bureau.
This year, Brandon Roth of TV3 did a live remote at Stanley Steemer, showing his viewers what goes into the cleaning process, and what a major task it is. Four technicians work for several full days to prepare the mass of toys for distribution. And, of course, Brandon had fun playing with the teddy bear in army camo…
This charitable act is standard practice for both the Syracuse Crunch Hockey Club and for Stanley Steemer. They have been working together since 2003 when the signature Stanley Steemer ice resurfacer made its debut. When the idea of the Teddy Bear Toss presented itself, both organizations enthusiastically determined to bring the event to Syracuse. This year is the 6’th Annual, and there will be many more to come.
Jeff Trisciani, owner of Stanley Steemer of Syracuse, says “This is our way to give back to the Central New York Community for supporting and blessing our business.” Jim Sarosy, COO of the Crunch echoes that sentiment, praising the loyal fans, and his players who seem to thrive on community service – when they aren’t entertaining their fans with first class hockey.
The Teddy Bear Toss is a big event – thousands of fans bringing and throwing the toys on to the ice – but it is only a tiny corner of the Salvation Army’s Christmas bureau where between three and four thousand of Central New York’s less fortunate are provided with Christmas dinner, books, toys, personal items and, of course, Teddy Bears.
The Salvation Army does its good work through the donations of time by over a thousand volunteers and the donations of money, food, and all the other things given at the Christmas bureau. The OnCenter donates its space for the bureau, Wegmans provides turkeys, food and manpower, Hess provides toy trucks and the list goes on forever.
The donations are gratefully accepted by those who need them – but in many cases, the most memorable moment will be when a child, facing the possibility of a dismal Christmas, finds a new friend waiting under the tree, courtesy of The Syracuse Crunch, Stanley Steemer and the Salvation Army.