"...at the heart of helping."

Operation Teddy Bear LogoOperation Teddy Bear

Operation Teddy Bear is a volunteer-powered literacy program that provides schoolbags filled with books and educational supplies to the area's most underserved first-graders. The program also provides volunteers with an opportunity to help and inspire these children first-hand, by packing and delivering the bags, as well as interacting with and reading to the students in their classrooms. Click here to see a video of Operation Teddy Bear in action.

How Operation Teddy Bear Helps | How You Can Help | Our Generous Sponsors | Operation Teddy Bear Volunteers in Action

The Need for Educational Support

School districts in both Los Angeles and Long Beach report an average of 70% of enrolled students live at or below the poverty line. This high percentage of children are eligible for the Free and Reduced Meal Program through Title One. While our Food For Kids program helps with the dietary needs, many of these students also arrive at school without adequate educational supplies to begin their day. These circumstances create special needs in the areas of education, literacy and self-esteem.

Operation Teddy Bear student beneficiaries

OTB Volunteer and Student

How Operation Teddy Bear Helps...

The Students

Operation Teddy Bear® addresses these needs by providing our signature schoolbags and supplies to these children. Each bag contains such items as reading and coloring books, a learning clock, a toothbrush, pencils, crayons, and of course, a teddy bear!

The Teachers

The program also provides teachers with supplies, including items such as stickers, white board marker/eraser sets, pencils and glue sticks.

The Community

And that's not all. The bags themselves are crafted by U.S. veterans in Carson through GreenVetsLA and their nonprofit vocational rehabilitation program, Vets Corps USA. Plus, our volunteers love taking the time to sit and read stories to the children, and share how volunteering is important in the community.

This multi-faceted approach sets the students up for success and everyone wins!

How You Can Help

See Operation Teddy Bear in Action Make a Monetary Donation

Operation Teddy Bear® is funded entirely by donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. Make an immediate impact on these students by donating toward the cost of a bag (each bag costs approximately $55). 

Click here to donate and select Operation Teddy Bear under Gift Designation.

 Sponsor a School

Groups can adopt an entire school as an Operation Teddy Bear Sponsor
Click here for more information.

 OTB Students with bagsVolunteer

We are always looking community members to help the program in one of the following ways:

  • Collect supplies
  • Set up materials
  • Pack schoolbags
  • Deliver bags to schools
  • Read to the children
  • Provide administrative support

We are also grateful to the Affinity Group for their support of the Operation Teddy Bear program. Click here to learn more.

For more information on ways you can help, contact Trisha Smith, Volunteer Services Manager, at trisha@volcenter.org or (310) 212-5009.

Operation Teddy Bear is possible thanks to the support our generous sponsors:

The Affinity Group


John Deere Foundation


Rotary Club of Manhattan Beach




Port of Long Beach


QuinStar Technology, Inc.



South Bay Junior Women's Club




Carl E. Wynn Foundation

Battle Creek Community Foundation




The Molina Foundation

The Rudolph J. and Daphne A. Munzer Foundation


Port of Los Angeles


South Bay Association of Realtors


Torrance Refining Company


Watson Land Company


Operation Teddy Bear® is a registered trademark of the Volunteer Center South Bay–Harbor–Long Beach.