Bear Boxes Club Goes International

Sisters organize Bear Boxes drive to benefit Mexican orphanage

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Printed with permission of Kendra Ross '23

Julianna Ross ’22 and Kendra Ross ’23 pose behind the donations they received for Casa Hogar Sonrisa de Ángeles, which is located in Tijuana, Mexico.

Lucas Cohen-D'Arbeloff

The Bear Boxes club, which aims to help children in foreign countries receive quality education, hosted a drive to benefit Casa Hogar Sonrisa de Ángeles, an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. Roughly 20 students donated clothes, hygiene products and other necessities by contacting co-leaders Kendra Ross ’23 or Julianna Ross ’22 between Feb. 26 and March 6.

Those interested in contributing either shipped the items to the leaders, dropped them off at their home or arranged for another meeting place. The co-leaders recruited a friend to drive the donations across the Mexican border to the orphanage after the fundraiser was completed.

Since the drive occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was primarily promoted and coordinated digitally.

Kendra Ross said that while the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more challenging to coordinate the fundraiser since students cannot place their items in bins on campus, she appreciated the broader impact achieved through digital outreach.

“It has actually been easier to spread the message of donating through social media and technology, as more people are using technology on a daily basis,” Kendra Ross said. “My sister and I had to make sure the transfers of donations were COVID-friendly.”

Julianna Ross agreed, saying that switching the format did not curtail donations.

“I think that even though it was a socially-distanced fundraiser, it still worked well and many people were interested in donating,” she said.

Club members said participating in the drive allowed them to engage in meaningful community service, especially given the current status of the pandemic.

Bear Boxes member Ollin DeAntonio ’22 said he enjoyed the opportunity to participate in a community service activity even while at home.

“It has been difficult for many students to help out their communities due to the pandemic,” DeAntonio said. “However, Bear Boxes has been a way to continue ongoing support and interaction with people in need.”

When asked to reflect on her involvement in the event, Kendra Ross said she felt compelled to help launch the drive due to heightened problems in global education during the past year.

“We are really happy to be helping out the less fortunate in such difficult times,” Kendra Ross said. “These moments not only make living conditions harder for disadvantaged societies but also raise awareness about the need for our community to unite and help for the greater good.”