Henry Bear’s Park is a developmental toy store and a Porter Square staple. One of the last of its kind, the shop is artfully curated with toys and gadgets that encourage learning, unplugging and playfulness for all ages. Like many local businesses, Covid-19 has definitely put a kink in the fun.
Closing their doors, didn’t stop this team from doing the work that matters most. Born out of pandemic shutdowns, It Takes a Village is a new campaign that sends toy packages to underserved families in the Commonwealth and beyond.
How does it work?
“Basically, we put out a call for personalized care packages for children in need,” explains Somerville-native Suzanne Robichaud, an HBP employee and one of the organizers for It Takes a Village. “The response from our customer base was so overwhelming.”
The program became a booming partnership with neighbors and local organizations helping connect each child to the care package of their dreams. What started out as a small project, Robichaud says, has bloomed into “the most heartwarming experience of my life.”
Even early on, Henry Bear’s Park matched approximately 700 care packages to 700 families in need. To date, that number has exploded to over 1,200 families. “Kids are on screens all day now. But we’re a developmental toy brand,” Robichaud tells Scout.
“Kids are stuck indoors, sometimes in 400 squar foot apartments. They’re on top of each other and the parents are struggling. Nothing I send will just sit on the shelf and look pretty. They’re all activity based, boredom busters.”
How can you help?
The easiest way to help this campaign maintain its early momentum is to share it. Post on social media, tell your friends and coworkers and neighbors. Want to go one step further? Visit the Henry Bear’s Park website to donate a box to a child in need.
For $25, a child in need gets matched with toys and games that are age appropriate and engaging. Each package is custom designed to keep kids active and entertained when they’re stuck at home and cut off from the resources they might have been receiving at school or summer camp.
“The important thing is that we all remember if we can do something, we should,” Robichaud says. “Even if I get one more donation, that’s a whole other kid I get to help.”
Visit Henry Bear’s Park to learn more and help us all keep playing.
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