IT IS truly heartwarming how a simple teddy bear can spark so much joy in a child.

The project, dubbed as "Bears of Joy," is a long-running special project of SM Supermalls where mall shoppers may purchase a pair of plush bears -- one of which they keep and the other to give for donation to the less privileged children in the community or to a chosen beneficiary.

This year's collection features designs inspired by four of the most common interests and hobbies that many Filipinos took up significantly during the pandemic.

They are Cookie the Baker Bear, Sunny the Plant Lover Bear, Cammy the Vlogger Bear, and Journey the Biker Bear.

In Zamboanga City, SM employee volunteers led the distribution to a hundred children from Reception and Study Center for Children in Talon-Talon, Social Development Center in Sta. Barbara, and Holy Trinity Open House Foundation in Pasonanca.

"Every year, we encourage our shoppers to remember the importance of charity, sharing, and giving, especially during Christmas. The unwavering participation and support of SM customers have impacted the lives of countless children in need. We hope to continue seeing that in the years to come," said Joaquin San Agustin, senior vice-president of SM Supermalls.

As of 2017, the SM Bears of Joy project benefited some 60,000 children and is expected to benefit more children and institutions this year.

The beneficiaries range from public orphanages, child community centers, or related non-government organizations.

SM Cares is the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, which handles initiatives to support communities, promote social inclusion, and care for the environment. (PR)

Source: SunStar (https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1918131/zamboanga/local-news/sm-city-mindpro-shares-bears-of-joy)