HOUSTON, Texas – Houston was the second stop on a worldwide special delivery tour of thousands of teddy bears. Last week volunteers delivered bears to children undergoing cancer treatment at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
United Airlines’ custom-designed GUND teddy bear, “Ben Flyin,” is making new friends today, National Teddy Bear Day, at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital in Houston. Volunteer United employees are delivering the bears as part of the United Adventure Bear program, working together to lift the spirits of children experiencing health struggles or economic hardship worldwide. The furry travel companion comes complete with a passport full of travel-inspired activities and an exploration-ready vest so children can use their imaginations to dream up adventures with their new friend.
United pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and other uniformed employees will make more than 45 additional deliveries to hospitals, schools and community organizations this year. They’ll make stops in the airline’s hub cities and dozens of other destinations around the globe.
“With more than 370 destinations worldwide, United is committed to giving back to the communities where our employees live and work,” explained Bo Ellis, United’s system chief pilot and a delivery volunteer. “Ben Flyin not only provides the comfort of a teddy bear, but also gives hope and inspires imagination through the adventure of travel.”
By the end of 2014, United will have delivered more than 55,000 United Adventure Bears since the program began seven years ago. Customers and employees helped fund the bears through a summer donation drive. Due to popular demand, the airline will continue to sell Ben Flyin bears and accept donations via unitedshop.com through the end of September.
United’s global workforce of more than 85,000 employees offers its time, talents and energy to make an impact in their communities. Last year, employees volunteered more than 67,000 hours to support a wide variety of community partners globally. United proudly supports hundreds of organizations worldwide that work to improve lives through health and education, provide opportunities for youth, connect communities with arts and culture, and improve the environment. In 2013, the airline contributed $25 million in cash and travel to organizations in each of its U.S. hub cities of Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.