The teddy bear drive at Lowe’s Home Improvement store, at State Road 54 and U.S. 41, started with a big, empty cardboard box, placed by the sliding door entrance.
“The empty box first started the conversation,” said Lowe’s store manager Derek Walter.
Just why was the box there?
A hand-drawn picture of a teddy bear quickly appeared on the side of the box, and employees began dropping huggable bears inside.
Customers soon noticed and began doing the same.
On Sept. 9, about 175 teddy bears were given to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office to help deputies who respond to domestic violence situations and need a comforting toy to hand out to children under stress.
Employees initially began talking about a community outreach project when the teddy bears came up.
Once started, employees ran with the idea.
One day, Walter went shopping at Walmart and took an armful of bears to the check out line. A customer in line asked about the bears.
When he explained the teddy bear drive, Walter said she liked the idea.
And soon after, he said, “She came by (Lowe’s) with some bears.”
Store employees plan to repeat the drive at least once a year.
“It’s a different way to give,” said Walter.
September 14, 2016