The Texas State Railroad is using its fourth annual Teddy Bear Train Ride to bring a little comfort to children who need something cuddly to cling to during a traumatic time.
The train excursions will depart from the railroad’s Rusk Depot at 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday and return about an hour later.
Children ages 12 and younger ride for free when they bring a teddy bear to the ticket window.
“The ride will feature special snacks, children’s music, teddy bear coloring book pages and more,” according to the railroad’s website. “Plus there is an opportunity to meet the entire Beary Bear family, including Boomer, our 10- year-old bear made famous through this summer’s Facebook postings about his many travels and adventures.”
The railroad will also collect donations on behalf of the Anderson County Blankets and Bears Children’s Fund. The organization makes sure that police officers, emergency room workers and first responders have teddy bears and blankets on hand to give to children who are scared or injured.
“These children generally have been involved in accidents, domestic disputes, house fires and other traumatic incidents,” said the railroad’s marketing manager Janet Gregg, in a news release.
“Those who give the bears to the children said sometimes it is the only comforting thing they have to hold onto at that moment, and that this program really does make a difference when they are in the midst of the worst experience of their young lives,” Ms. Gregg said.
Donations from the Teddy Bear Ride to Blankets and Bears have increased 47 percent in three years, according to the announcement.
For more information about the Texas State Railroad or to reserve a ticket, call 903-683- 3098 or go online to texasstaterr.com.