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Barrhead Legion Teddy Bear Picnic returns after three-year hiatus

Stuffies to go to Barrhead Healthcare Centre and Amber’s Hope
Barrhead Royal Canadian Legion brings back Teddy Bear Picnic.

BARRHEAD - The Barrhead Royal Canadian Legion is bringing back its popular Teddy Bear picnic event.

On Friday, June 21, the Legion asks the community to bring a new stuffed animal to its lounge anytime after 5 p.m. as part of their annual Teddy Bear Picnic campaign.

The stuffed animals will be given to sick children at the Barrhead Healthcare Centre and Amber's Hope Maternity Home.

The latter is an off-shoot of the Barrhead Pregnancy Centre, which provides accommodation and support programs to expectant and new mothers.

Legion board member Darlene Braucht said this is the first time since the pandemic that they will hold the popular event.

Like many not-for-profit organizations, she said COVID hit the Legion hard, to the point that they contemplated selling the building.

"But now that we are back up and running, we thought it was time to bring the Teddy Bear Picnic."

She said the Teddy Bear Picnic was one of the Legion's most popular events before the pandemic. It had been going on for over a decade before being temporarily suspended.

"Arda Klan first thought of the Legion doing the Teddy Bear Picnic, which is why we are holding it in her honour," Braucht said.

Klan, a longtime Barrhead resident, first became active in the Legion through the Ladies Auxillary, a separate but connected non-profit organization.

However, when the Barrhead chapter of the Ladies Auxillary folded, she joined the Royal Canadian Legion, serving in several capacities, including membership chair.

Klan passed away two years ago at 86.

Braucht said the Legion executive initially discussed the potential of having the board members bring a stuffed animal to their monthly board meetings, and when they accumulated enough toys, they would donate them to the hospital.

"It was Arda who said we should hold it annually and invite the community to participate," she said.

Included with the event will be a "picnic".

Braucht said Teddy Picnic goers are also encouraged to stay and participate in the Legion's weekly meat draw and "Chase the Ace" accumulating card game.

"Arda would be so pleased that we are bringing back the Teddy Bear Picnic," she said. "She was a spicy little woman who knew how to get people's attention when she wanted it. ...  she was so involved, loved people, loved life and did her best to ensure people were happy."

Barry Kerton,

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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