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Operation Comfort Bears

The grief from the Christchurch terror attacks has motivated Gisborne’s “teddy bear lady” back into giving mode.

Helen Hunt has packed 500 bears for people affected by the shootings and Mainfreight Gisborne is transporting them for free.

“Back when the earthquake hit Christchurch in 2011, we sent down 5000 where there were children and adults needing a comforting cuddle,” she said.

Now there are a new group of people with children who need something to hold, she says.

The bears, made in a factory in China, are small and soft with brown noses and big feet.

Mainfreight will deliver the bears to the Multicultural Council in Christchurch and they will be distributed from there.

Mrs Hunt has funded the bears up front but says they are a gift from the people of Gisborne.

“Our Gisborne aroha goes with the bears and anyone who would like to donate can do that at Gisborne Westpac Bank. Just say you want to donate to Operation Comfort Bears.”

Mrs Hunt has lived in Gisborne for the past 40 years and started her teddy bear business in 1996.

“I used to make hand-made, collectible ones and now I have the patent for “Prezzy Pets — plush animals with a pocket on the front so people can pop a card, voucher, money, small gift or message or Lotto ticket in the pocket and have an instant gift.”

A gift of 500 teddy bears from Gisborne are on the way to Christchurch for people affected by the tragic terror attacks. Dubbed Operation Comfort Bears, the idea came from Gisborne’s “teddy bear lady” Helen Hunt (front) and Mainfreight in Gisborne are delivering the bears for free. Mainfreight team members Lisa Gillies (left) and Amokura Rangihuna are with the load before it left Gisborne yesterday morning. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell