Children in need at a host of hospitals and shelters throughout the Philadelphia region received thousands of teddy bears thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers who ran West Chester University's Bear Fair this fall.

The Bear Fair sent out 6,282 bears to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Chester County Hospital, duPont Hospital for Children, and the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware - both in Wilmington, among many others during the holiday season. The bears were collected at a number of locations throughout the West Chester area during November and December.

The fair was started in 1997 by WCU undergrad K.J. Rawson, who collected 200 bears that year. The university's office of service-learning and volunteer programs took control of the project in 1999, and the Bear Fair broke the 1,000-bear barrier in 2000, and hasn't looked back since.

   Will Hobson