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Care bears: Group creates activity to help cheer children

NATCHEZ — Somewhere in the Miss-Lou as families are driving or walking around their neighborhoods, they might spy a lonely teddy bear peeping out of the front window of his house looking for a friend.

Those passersby can cheer him up by honking their car horns or waving as they walk by.

On Saturday afternoon, Vidalia resident Sandi Faulk said she read an article from her hometown of San Antonio, Texas, about a Teddy Bear Hunt, in which neighborhood residents place their stuffed friend in their street facing windows as a means to cheer up children who are restless from social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When she read the article, Faulk said she thought, What a good idea, and decided to play along.

“So I put bears in my window and posted a picture on Facebook,” she said. “… I thought on that Sunday afternoon around lunchtime, if we could get 30 to 40 people in the Miss-Lou to participate it could be a lot of fun. My goodness it blew up really quickly. Today, we’ve got over 1,300 members.”

Miss-Lou Teddy Bear Hunt group members post their street name and a clue to help the hunters find the stuffed animals. Those who spot the bear yell, wave, honk their car horns or post a picture on the Miss-Lou Teddy Bear Hunt Facebook page.

Some stuffed animals have been spotted swinging from trees and sitting on mailboxes or at outdoor picnic tables with an umbrella when it rained, Faulk said.

The hidden critters also haven’t been limited to just the bear species.

Faulk said her favorite so far has been a Myrtle Street Lego Batman that changes poses and outfits each day. Others have pulled out their Christmas yard ornaments to play, Vidalia Alderwoman Sabrina Doré said, adding she was glad to see something “cute instead of scary” flooding her news feed on social media.

“I took my family on our first Teddy Bear Hunt on Saturday and I was so thrilled at the excitement from the boys when they spotted a bear,” she said. “As we drove, we could see others doing the same. We all greeted each other with a wave.
“This is a safe way to maintain social distancing … while letting the family get a change of scenery. It is also a great reminder of how our community is coming together in these uncertain times.”

Faulk said the group gained 200 followers on the first day and now has an online community that geographically stretches as far as South America. Most members come from Natchez, Vidalia, Ferriday and Monterey, she said.

Though the activity proved to be a great distraction for young kids, Faulk said she and her husband Jim have enjoyed the activity just as much.

“We have a friend at our church who is probably my age who was sitting at her window doing her work on Saturday and Sunday. She put bears up so she could wave back at the kids who were walking by,” Faulk said.