Teddy Bears Headed to Haiti, Jamaica, Carry Legacy of Love

Jerry Gamble of Delray Beach donated about 1,500 teddy bears from his late wife Jean’s collection to Food For The Poor.

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (April 18, 2012) — A South Florida man is carrying on his late wife’s legacy with his gift of 1,500 teddy bears to the international relief and development agency Food For The Poor. The charity will ship the bears to children living in extreme poverty in Haiti and Jamaica.

In February, when Jerry Gamble lost his wife, Jean, to heart failure, he was grief-stricken after 53 years of marriage. He knew that her bear collection was important to her, so he turned his grief to action to find good homes for the bears she sometimes called her children. He researched different groups and decided to give most of them to Food For The Poor to help brighten the lives of children living in destitute conditions.

As he sorted through the bears to bag and box them up for the children, he reminisced about the Saturday garage sale trips with his wife that ultimately resulted in thousands of bears.

“We always went together to the garage sales. She knew bears, I didn’t,” Gamble said. “It started when she saw two little bears lying in a driveway, waiting for the trash pick-up. I don’t know when her brain kicked in and she decided to collect them. It started to get a little crazy.”

Gamble built special wooden risers for his wife’s “bear room” and the collection continued to grow as her children made gifts of bears to her, and she continued to find and refurbish bears that had fallen onto hard times. The result of their 15 years of  bear rescue will be a big load of love to children who have never had their own toy, or  known the comfort of a plush bear in their arms as they fall asleep.

Diego Marmol from Food For The Poor boxes up bears to ship to Haiti and Jamaica.

“Mr. Gamble has no idea what a blessing of love these teddy bears will be for these children who have so little, and who are so grateful to know that someone cares,” said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. “He might never meet these children, yet they will feel the love he has for them.” 

Food For The Poor supports more than 3,800 children in 95 orphanages through its Angels of Hope program. Many more children are helped through schools and feeding programs.

Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.

For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.


Kathy Skipper
Food For The Poor
Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6614