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SE Bend neighborhood brings joy through stuffed bear hunt

Encourages people to go out for a walk while promoting social distancing

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A neighborhood in southeast Bend is taking part in a global trend that’s bringing smiles to children’s faces. (Adults, too.)

The Stonegate neighborhood is encouraging children and their families to go on a “bear hunt.” Some residents placed stuffed bears against their windows, in an effort to show people they are not alone during a time of uncertainty and social distancing.

Shelly Carper told NewsChannel 21 Thursday she likes to watch the joy on children’s faces from her window as she sews homemade masks to donate to the hospital. 

She said she heard of the bear hunt trend online from a friend in Australia. She happened to have a collection of Beanie Babies, so she decided to line them up against her window.

“A couple days ago, a little girl jumped up in the front yard and she was counting them all,” Carper said. “It’s just really cute. I love it!”

Carper’s daughter, Cassondra, works as a nurse and is on vacation, visiting from Sacramento. She said it's fun to see people come together through such a simple activity.

“I remember when the Beanie Babies craze was in, and it’s funny to see them come back, 20 years later,” Cassondra said. “I’m pretty amazed at my mom’s pile, to be honest. Now there’s a reason for it!”

She said the bear hunt is a fun activity for people of ages, and a reminder to stay positive.

“Our first priority for all of us is safety, but next is keeping optimism alive and keeping people positive,” she said. “Remember that life is sacred. That’s what we’re trying to protect.”

NewsChannel 21 also spoke with a couple of young bear hunters.

Second-grader Miles Denton and his younger sister, Cora, said they counted about 15 bears in windows during their walk down the street.

"There's going to be a lot of bears, and it's going to be a lot of fun," Cora said.

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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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