Build-A-Bear marks 10 years, $10 million to charity

Are you aware of an event or project that benefits our community? Contact Anna Ferguson at 770-963-9205 ext. 1308 or anna.ferguson@gwinnettdailypost.com.

According to the ancient Chinese calendar, 2007 is the Year of the Pig. According to Build-A-Bear Workshop, it is actually the year of friendship.

Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the company has announced it is naming 2007 "The Year of Friendship: Cele-bear-ating 10 Years of Hugs" and it is expanding its charitable initiatives.

Since opening in 1997, the company has expanded to 300 stores worldwide, and has populated the world with 45 million furry friends.

Build-A-Bear is a company that strives to have heart, and there was no better way to commemorate this decade of success than by being involved in area communities, said Maxine Clark, founder and chief executive of Build-A-Bear.

"When I started Build-A-Bear Workshop 10 years ago, I was looking to recreate the excitement and magic I felt as a child," Clark said in a press release. "People have been asking me for years how we will maintain our teddy bear culture as we grow. I think the answer is simple. It's about teddy bears and it's about heart. And it's about being good people and good bears. The language of teddy bears is understood in every country and by all ages."

The workshop is teaming with KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization that aims to create safe, interactive playgrounds for every child in America. In this campaign, children and the community will work to design and build their own playground. The 10 playgrounds will be built over a three-month period, finished by Sept. 8.

Build-A-Bear will also hit the highway to reach out to underprivileged children in Austin, Albuquerque and Atlanta. With the help of First Book, a nonprofit group that gives children in low-income families their first new books, the Build-A-Bear tour will provide hands-on learning activities to promote literacy and inspire imagination.

Working with the Arbor Day Foundation, the company plans to kick off a tree planting campaign in April. Guests of Build-A-Bear will be able to purchase a certificate at area stores to have a tree planted in their name.

Giving back is not a new concept to the company. Over the last decade, Build-A-Bear has given $10 million in charitable donations.

For more information on Build-A-Bear, visit www.buildabear.com or www.friends2bmade.com.

Troop will send sweets to soldiers

Suwanee Brownie Troop No. 1379 is switching things up this cookie season. Cookie-buying customers can buy boxes of the sweet treats to be sent to soldiers in Iraq. The scouts will write notes to accompany each box shipped overseas.

A box of cookies costs $3.50 and orders can be placed through Wednesday. Cookies will be distributed after March 5. To place orders, call troop leader Diane Grace at 770-614-1181 or e-mail orders to gracegals@bellsouth.net.

Campaign set up for Winder resident

A local church has established a fundraising campaign through Wachovia Bank for Candy Odom Attaway, a Winder resident in need of a heart transplant.

Attaway, 38, works at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and has coached and volunteered for Special Olympics with Barrow County Schools. She is suffering from cardiomyopathy, a disease that enlarges and weakens the heart muscle.

The fundraising campaign is seeking to raise money to help Attaway and her family pay for the possible transplant as well as cover the cost of post-transplant medications and other expenses.

Donations can be made payable to The First Baptist Church of Stone Mountain Candy Attaway Transplant Fund, P.O. Box 806, Stone Mountain, GA, 30083. To contribute or for more information, call Richard Attaway at 678-923-1299.

Tour proceeds

presented to charity

A $188,000 check was presented to the Gwinnett Children's Shelter by sponsors of the 2006 "It's a Wonderful House" Home Tours. This check represents the net proceeds of the event, held Nov. 17-19, which featured five homes in the Chateau Elan community.

Restaurant donates patties to food banks

Steak•Shake restaurant donated 385,560 steakburger patties to 72 food banks nationwide, including five food banks in Georgia.

Atlanta Community Food Bank received the largest Georgia donation, with 6,720 patties. Other Georgia food bank recipients included the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank in Macon, with 504 patties, and the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia in Albany, with 168 patties.