Holiday cheer to last all year. Bears of South Florida (BOSFL) are ready for the softest, cuddliest event of the season: their annual Teddy Bear Drive.

This isn’t a couple of guys standing around a box collecting teddy bears. This is an event.

Set for Black Friday, Nov. 25 at 5 p.m., Hunters Nightclub is turning into (Teddy) Bear Central.

“The Teddy Bear Drive is the kickoff to the holiday season,” BOSFL President Will Haas said. “The event takes place on FUR Friday at Hunters! Many bears gather at Hunters FUR Friday on a regular basis. Hunters has become a big part of the Teddy Bear giving tradition. Many gather at Hunters after celebrating Thanksgiving with their family and friends. It's an amazing way to socialize while giving to the community. Seeing the bears pile up and knowing the collected bears are going to bring a smile to a child that is in the hospital brings a smile to all that participate.”

The bears that pile up are given to young patients at Broward Health. Haas said they collect enough bears that kids get them all through the year. It helps comfort them when they find themselves facing illness and scary medical machines and treatments.

As fun as the night is, Haas said the best is yet to come. “Being part of the group dropping off the bears to Broward Health is such a wonderful feeling.”

Songs & Smiles

The event is co-hosted with the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida (GMCSF). They’ve been part of the tradition for several years. Between the kids and the community, it’s a great opportunity to be visible.

“GMCSF continues to spearhead this annual drive, and the growth came when we began partnering with The Bears of South Florida and Hunter's Nightclub to bring this tradition to its next level,” GMCSF Director of Marketing Edward Otto Zielke said. ”The partnership GMCSF has with The Bears is one of the many successful relationships in South Florida's nonprofit fundraising. This partnership works because both organizations have a profound commitment to community service.”

Holiday Party

A week later, the Bears will come together for their annual holiday party. It’s at the Pride Center on Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. “It's a time to reflect on all the wonderful programming that was enjoyed by many,” Haas said. “We will serve dinner, have holiday cheer and enjoy entertainment by the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble.”

The event is more than a chance to sip on some naughty eggnog. Like Santa, the original Bear, BOSFL comes bearing gifts. They’ll award grants to nonprofits serving the LGBT. “At our Holiday Party we award grants to several local non-profit organizations. Many of the participants that attend the holiday party have enabled THE BOSFL Philanthropy.”

Tickets are $15 and there will be a cash bar.

Learn more about the events at BOSFL.org.


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