When Joyce Yeoman heard about the Haiti earthquake, her heart was especially moved for the children. Knowing they had lost what little they owned–some of them even losing their entire families she wanted to help. So she started a Teddy Bear drive!
Contacting local businesses in her small hometown of Show Low, Arizona, Mrs. Yeoman placed bins in locations across town to collect the stuffed animals from others who shared her burden. Even though her mountain town was relatively small, she soon had 26 boxes with 400 stuffed animals. The local Young Marines, boys ages 12-18 years helped pack and get them ready to ship to Haiti.
But how could she ensure her precious cargo would safely reach its intended destination? That’s where the Somebody Cares network stepped in to help!
Mrs. Yeoman and her husband are in their 70s and faithfully watch Pastor Joel Osteen’s weekly sermon telecasts from Lakewood Church in Houston. So that’s who she contacted for help. Lakewood was not shipping anything to Haiti but knew from their long-term relationship with Somebody Cares that one phone call to our office could be the key to success for Mrs. Yeoman–and they were right!
Somebody Cares has been assisting with Haiti relief efforts since day one of the tragedy, already sending volunteer teams to conduct assessments and distribute food, medicine, and other life-saving supplies. Somebody Cares has also shipped food, medical supplies and other relief items to relieve the suffering of Haitians.
As always, Somebody Cares works to empower local pastors and ministry leaders who know their communities better than anyone else and who will still be around long after other agencies and organizations have gone back to business as usual. The Somebody Cares staff gladly took on the role of receiving, transporting, and distributing Mrs. Yeoman’s teddy bears. “She was and is elated that we would help her,” said Somebody Cares staff member Vickie Gaskins.
“Once the bears arrive they will be distributed through a broad network of churches, orphanages and schools to children who have lost so much,” explained Somebody Cares Vice President Jodie Chiricosta. In addition to providing physical assistance to quake survivors, she said, Somebody Cares is also involved in trauma counseling and recovery. “Some of the bears will be used to comfort children still traumatized by the quake and their losses.”
Not only will hundreds of children be personally impacted by Mrs. Yeoman’s actions, many other lives have been affected and inspired as well. “She is a testimony to me that in my busy-ness I can either rush past the needs of one or stop to take the time to hear one’s heart and bless them!” Vickie said.
Getting teddy bears to Haiti is Mrs. Yeoman’s mission. Founder Doug Stringer added, “This is what we exist for! I am reminded by Mrs. Yeoman that Somebody Cares.”
Thanks to Mrs. Yeoman and to each of you who are partnering with us in Haiti and so many other places to turn tragedy into triumph! You are truly Champions of Compassion!