Love is in the bear! The Little North Pole may be the king of Christmas decorations in Rockaway, but this time, they’re doing a little something to share the love for Valentine’s Day. On Sunday, February 14, they’ll be hosting an adopt a bear drive-by event, in which kids can take home a love-stuffed plush in an effort to give back to those in need.
All are welcome to drive by the home of the Little North Pole at 144-03 Neponsit Avenue on Sunday, between 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., for a chance to take home a Valentine’s bear that was born right at the Little North Pole. For a donation of $10 and some non-perishable food items, kids, or whoever wants one, can get a bear. Each bear comes with its own name and birth certificate. Joe Mure and Jodi Tucci are hoping the bears will “make some children smile,” while the donations will be used to help stock the St. Camillus food pantry. “We’re looking to help out the food pantry that is feeding some of the people in Rockaway who are struggling to feed themselves,” Mure said. “On one hand, we hope to put a smile on a child’s face, while at the same time, help people who are having a difficult time and we hope to make them smile also.”
As with some regular adoptions, these bear cubs come a little bit older. They were born at the Little North Pole in 2019—a year when things seemed much simpler. “We don’t want to really give kids memories of 2020 because there’s a lot that went wrong. 2020 was not a good year for people, so our bears were born in 2019 and they’re ready for adoption! It’s like with a regular adoption, not everyone gets a newborn,” Mure joked.
While Mure decks his home out for the holidays, just a few hearts will decorate the windows this weekend. After all, it’s all about the bears and collecting donations for a good cause. However, the event won’t be hard to miss as a tent will be outside, decorated with balloons as the “cupid squad” will be on hand to hand out the bears to their new owners on Sunday. “We’re trying to make it as festive as we can without the lights,” Mure said.
Mure decided to give the donations to St. Camillus’ food pantry after asking around for who needs help. “I spoke with Rockaway WISH to see if they knew of any pantries and they said Father Rich at St. Camillus gives out food every Wednesday and they could use the help, so we figured we’d help them,” Mure said. “Father Rich loved the idea.”
Cars can start lining up before 2 p.m. at Beach 145th and Neponsit Avenue, heading down towards the home. Covid safety practices will be in effect, so all of those who come to the drive-by are asked to wear a mask, even when in their cars, to keep themselves and others safe.
By Katie McFadden
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