On Friday 1/6/23, along with a group of CHEER volunteers, I was given the opportunity to prepare “Battalion Buddies” at Operation Gratitude. Battalion Buddies are teddy bears given to the children of parents about to deploy in the military. Our main job was to stuff the bears with stuffing so that they were all filled equally and perfectly for the children. By following the instructions of 2 operation gratitude employees; Judy and Kat, we were taught the requirements for stuffing the bears – the feet and arms had to be firm and couldn’t be flopping around, and the stomach of the bear had to be stuffed enough so that there were no loose spaces. We also had to be careful not to over-stuff the bear. Although it was frustrating at first, most of us got used to the process and we ended up preparing around 100+ bears.
I think we were all inspired by the fact that these bears would be going to children of the deployed, so it influenced us to do our best jobs to produce the best bears for them. It was really fun to experience this process of quality control and I hope that the children appreciate and enjoy the bears they receive.