A teddy-bear hug and a bedtime story for 1000 NYC tots

Philanthropist Emily Fisher Landau, 90, gives out the first of 1,000 teddy bears to pre-schoolers at HELP USA's Genesis RFK Apartments, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010, in New York.

One thousand New York City children at six HELP USA supportive housing sites in Manhattan, The Bronx, and Brooklyn will get a Bear hug and a bedtime story courtesy of Emily Fisher Landau, who recently celebrated her 90th birthday and her grandson, Winston Fisher.

Mrs. Fisher Landau and her grandson wanted to make a holiday donation to children that could bring comfort, be educational and benefit a deserving charity.

“The opportunity to make a 1,000 children smile was one we couldn’t pass up,” she said.

The bear gives back twice. For every bear/book sold, $8 will be donated to the Child Mind Institute (www.childmind.org) whose mission is to transform mental healthcare for the world’s children to enable them to reach their full potential, including the more than 15 million children with psychiatric disorders in the United States.

“Reading to children gives them a great head start and brings families together,” said Mr. Fisher. “I am delighted that my grandmother and I will be able to make a small contribution to the happiness of some of the City’s children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to hug a bear during this holiday season,” he noted.

HELP USA operates 30 residences nationwide. Fourteen residential communities deliver customized services for families with children. Its housing model focuses on keeping the family unit stable and intact enabling recovery from the trauma of becoming homeless.

The gift of the bears was inspired by the special “Good Deeds” wall displayed in all Bloomingdale’s stores featuring an array of gifts that support a variety of causes. Included in the “Good Deeds” collection is Bloomingdale’s Little Brown Bear - The 2010 edition of the annual collectible Teddy Bear by GUND is paired with the storybook, “A Magical Night before Christmas,” featuring a foreword by Jimmy Buffett, written by Dan Tucker, with illustrations by Michael Storrings.

“We are so appreciative of the creative donation of the GUND bears and books to our children and for the partnership of the Fisher family and Bloomingdale’s in bringing a joyful smile to 1,000 little faces,” said Maria Cuomo Cole, chair of HELP USA’s board of directors.

“Our family residences include programs to support young people, from early childhood education and daycare to after school programs and mentoring. Children who participate in these programs gain a sense of stability and self-worth, and are better able to focus on their educations to realize a brighter future,” Mrs. Cole added.

Emily Fisher Landau is a world-renowned supporter of the arts and noted philanthropist for art institutions.

Active in numerous philanthropic activities, Winston Fisher is Executive Vice Chairman of the Fisher House Foundation and a member of the Real Estate and Construction Council of Lincoln Center. An active alumnus, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of Syracuse University as well as of the Board of Visitors of the Syracuse College of Arts and Science.

HELP USA’s mission is to provide housing and the supportive services necessary for the homeless and people in need to become and remain self reliant. Through the development of quality housing with on-site support services, HELP USA provides resources for its residents to become independent and self-sufficient. HELP USA breaks the cycle of dependency by addressing underlying causes in a way that respects the dignity of those we serve. HELP USA helps their clients help themselves.

The comprehensive continuum of services offered at HELP USA residences includes employment training and placement, life skills education, childcare, and domestic violence counseling. As clients build confidence and skills, they take control of their lives and find a new beginning. For more information visit https://www.helpusa.org.

The Child Mind Institute is devoted to transforming mental health care for the world’s children to enable them to reach their full potential. Cofounded by Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, and Brooke Garber Neidich, the Child Mind Institute is passionately committed to finding more effective treatments for childhood psychiatric and learning disorders, building the science of healthy brain development, and empowering children and their families with the information they need to get help, hope, and answers. To learn more, visit childmind.org.

Bloomingdale’s is America’s only nationwide, full-line, upscale department store and a division of Macy’s, Inc. It was founded in 1872 and currently operates 41 stores in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, Nevada, and California. In addition, in 2010 Bloomingdale’s opened its first international location in Dubai and will open four US outlet stores. Be sure to follow Bloomingdale’s on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bloomingdales) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/bloomingdales), and for more information, or to shop any time, visit www.bloomingdales.com

PRNewsFoto/Emily Fisher Landau and Winston Fisher, Diane Bondareff

Authored by: Richard Lee

Richard has been traveling since he took a year off from college, where he was doing a BA in Journalism. He traveled half the world, backpacking with his girlfriend (now his wife). They spent time in South America, Asia, Greece and much of Europe. After writing about his experiences for several airline and travel magazines, he never went back to college.