Australia-based self-storage operator U-Store-It is supporting South Australia Ambulance Service by providing free storage to house the materials that make “Trauma Teddies,” stuffed bears given to adults and children by rescue personnel during traumatic events. The bears are knitted by volunteers and include a hand-sewn Red Cross identification label.
Trauma Teddy was conceived in 1990 by Richard Hamilton, who was then the superintendent of ambulance service for Campbelltown, a suburb of Sydney. Hamilton witnessed the calming effect a stuffed animal had on a child who was being treated by a neighboring ambulance company. He then approached the Red Cross for assistance in providing more bears for trauma victims. A pattern was created by a Red Cross member and made available to volunteer knitters.
Each year, tens of thousands of Trauma Teddies are handed out in Australia to adults and children affected by traumatic events including fires, floods or other disasters. All of the bears must pass a quality inspection by Red Cross branch members before distribution.
Founded 38 years ago, U-Store-It is a family-owned and -operated business with eight self-storage properties in Adelaide, South Australia. The company was a founding member of the Self-Storage Association of Australia.