It is a tough year economically for Americans. Joe Biden’s economy has crashed and burned, and despite what the White House tells people, most families have less money to spend on essentials like gas, rent, food, and clothing, no less Christmas gifts for their families. Thankfully, there are organizations and good-hearted people who take the time to share their good fortune with the needy. Many families rely on the kindness of strangers to help make ends meet and put food on the table and a few gifts under the tree at Christmas.
Many organizations host fundraisers and toy drives. There are numerous “angel trees,” and first responders, police, and firefighters routinely collect food and toys to distribute to underprivileged families. Sometimes, however, that isn’t enough. Recently, a minor league hockey team and its fans went above and beyond for their community and collected over 16k stuffed toys for kids in the Cleveland area.
December 16 at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse was the annual Teddy Bear Toss night for the minor league Cleveland Monsters. The Monsters hold the event annually, which involves fans throwing stuffed toys onto the ice when the home team scores its first goal of the evening. The first period of the game versus the Belleville Senators was scoreless, and fans were chomping at the bit to unload on the home ice.
However, as the second period began, things on the ice heated up fast. Cleveland left wing Justin Pearson beat Belleville goalie Kevin Mandolese, slipping the puck by the goalie glove-side for a 1-0 Monsters lead and a subsequent hailstorm of fuzzy, colorful stuffed animals on the home ice. The reported crowd of more than 13,000 wasted no time in raining love and stuffed animals down to the tune of over 16,000 at the final count. It was a record number of donations for the event, with many fans bringing multiple items to chuck onto the ice. Watch the donations flood the stadium here:
For Justin Pearson, it wasn’t just the first goal of the night but the first goal of his career. The 25-year-old rookie from Nahua, New Hampshire, was openly emotional talking about the goal after the game. He said: “It was a whirlwind of emotions. Getting the puck into the back of the net felt great, then having all the teddy bears come down was something special, and then celebrating with all my teammates, so it was a great moment.”
The rookie plans to have the puck framed to commemorate his first professional goal. It was a big moment for the player, the team, and local kids in Cleveland who may not have had anything to open on Christmas morning. The Monsters released a statement on their social media: “Couldn’t have been able to make snow angels without all of you pitching in to bring bears to the game. All 16,112 bears from the game will be donated to local charities.”
It is unfortunate that so many families are struggling under the current Administration, but thankfully, there are numerous folks doing good work to ensure needy families will have food and presents for Christmas. Organizations like the Cleveland Monsters should be commended, as well as their fans, for helping pick up the slack and put smiles on kids’ faces Christmas morning.
Featured image screen grab from embedded YouTube video
"*" indicates required fields