If you’ve been wondering why many of your neighbors have teddy bear displays up in their windows, front porches or other creative places in their home look no further than Kate Lewey, the woman behind the New Hampshire Bear Hunt Facebook Page that now has over 9,000 members!
We caught up with this beary busy woman to learn more about how the hunt started.
What gave you the idea to start the NH Bear Hunt?
Earlier when the news of the virus was ramping up, I saw a news story of homes doing this exact thing in Australia. They transformed sleepy little “sick” towns into storybook towns for the kids. I asked on my local Facebook group if others would be interested…and based on the response in my area Belmont, NH, I decided to open it up for the entire state. This gave people the option to get in their car and just take a drive.
Since its inception, Cynthia Kandrut Crescenzi and Nicole Dionne, who I had never met before took it upon themselves to help me manage the account and have become fast friends!
Approximately how many homes have registered to participate to date?
To date, we currently have 2,600 homes on the map and counting.
How can people get involved in the NH Bear Hunt?
It’s easy! The map is public, anyone can visit our Facebook group (New Hampshire Bear Hunt) for the link to add their location themselves or they may add their location to our designated post and one of us managing the page will add it directly to the map. Every night we remove that post and create a fresh new post for the following day so the most up to date addresses are reflected.
Do you have kids of your own?
I do! Aidan, 16, and Hannah, 14. Hannah has helped me add new people into the group after her schoolwork is done, and she helps enter addresses on to the map.
Tell us a little about you?
I’m a mom, wife and daughter who is unfortunately a furloughed Dental Assistant right now. Having older kids who otherwise can complete their daily work tasks on their own, I needed to find something to do with my days. I found myself watching the news all the time and becoming more anxious, so I started this with my family as a means to cope and distract my mind. My mom, who is considered high risk, lives with us and it really has been something her and I enjoy participating in by taking our daily rides.
What are some of your favorite NH Bear Hunt Stories?
I have so many favorite stories, but three of them stand out the most and really touch more on who has been affected by the Bear Hunt.
-Senior’s and people at high risk love being a part of SOMETHING. Not only does it bring them joy seeing the bears, but it makes them happy to participate as well.
-One of our biggest fans and supporters is Liberty, the Concord Police Department’s comfort pup. Everyday her handler Lenny O’Keefe is instrumental in sharing “comfort” even within the social media by sharing photos of her. People love and look forward to the photos shared by Lenny of Liberty. They are also helping spread joy by hiding bears in the police stations’ windows.
-Then you have the healthcare workers, many of whom are already feeling the effects. They have expressed to me that bears bring them joy when heading into work and after on their way home. They are the real heroes right now and it warms my heart to hear the bears are bringing joy to them.
Why do you think kindness is so important every day, especially now?
Kindness is INCREDIBLY important right now. People are scared, confused, mentally exhausted and so out of place. More than ever random acts of kindness are needed; even if it is in the form of seeing a bear to make you smile. Kindness is just as contagious as this virus is, except kindness ALWAYS brings the good out of people.
Teddy Bears are the symbol of comfort and love, I hope this movement carries on until our country is healed and back to normal.
If you want to get involved in New Hampshire’s Bear Hunt- find them on Facebook and join the fun!