Comprised of bears donated by the community, the tree is one of 25 beautifully decorated trees that are auctioned off at the Festival’s signature event, the Tux & Trees Gala in December. Auction guests gather around this special tree to raise money for The Southwest Florida Goodwill Foundation. The tree is then traditionally donated to a children’s hospital.
“Last year we had over 600 teddy bears donated,” says Madison Mitchell, spokesperson at Goodwill. “That was more than any year prior. We hope to reach that number again this year with the support of individuals and businesses in the community.”
Goodwill’s goal is to collect the bears by November 14, in time for the start of the Festival of Trees, which is held at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, in December.
“We encourage local businesses to hold mini-bear drives of their own,” says Mitchell. “To see the faces of the children and families that come through the Festival and see the bear tree; it’s magical.”
If you are interested in hosting a teddy bear drive, or have new bears that you would like to donate contact Madison Mitchell at (239)995-2106 ext. 2213 or email MadisonMitchell@
Last year’s Festival and Gala raised over $90,000 to support The Southwest Florida Goodwill Foundation, which provides long-term financial support to programs and services of Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida.
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc. is committed to assisting people with disabilities and disadvantages by providing life-changing opportunities to achieve independence. Last year, Goodwill was able to assist over 37,000 people across Southwest Florida. For more information about Goodwill visit www.goodwillswfl.org