In 1996 Montoursville PA was hit particularly hard by the TWA 800 disaster. 16 graduating seniors and 5 chaperones were among the victims onboard. During the weeks and months after the tragedy, the town was flooded with messages of support and sympathy. Among the things that arrived was a stuffed teddy bear. This bear had come from the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. It had arrived to them anonymously as a "Healing Bear." Hearing how hard Montoursville had been affected by TWA 800, the bear was sent to them.
However, the bear's work and travels did not stop there. In 1999 it was sent to Columbine High School. Later that year it went to Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas after a shooting. In 2001, the bear was sent to Santee High school in California after a school shooting there.
Erika Enigk Grotto, who is from Montoursville and knew the students lost on TWA 800, has decided to take this concept and expand on it. She is creating a charity that will hand stitch new bears and send them to where they are most needed. Her initial goal is $1,000. With these funds she will design a dedicated website to this cause, make several bears, and send them off to where they can do the most good.
Yes, bears can be dangerous. But these bears are here to help.