by Brittni Carraway
In November of 2017, Alyssa Banks attended a camp for children who are terminally ill. One day, a little girl named Alyssa played explained to her how she would never get the chance to go to Disney due to the progression of her cancer and how little time she had left. Saddened by hearing this, Alyssa started thinking on ways of how to bring Disney to her.
In the beginning of 2020, Alyssa founded the 501(C)3 non- profit organization, the Princess Program Foundation. Located in Bellingham, Massachusetts, the organization has volunteers bring magic to children in hospitals battling serious illness by dressing up as princesses and superheroes to add a smile to their day and spending one-on-one character time. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, hospital visits became nearly impossible. So, the program added a new feature to their organization by having their characters Zoom call kids battling an illness who are in and out of hospitals. Zoom calls can be tailored to the child's interest, e.g.,. singing, dancing, play dough, craft making, and story book readings.
In November of last year, the organization purchased 100 of our 9" Santa Bear Assortment. With the bears, they had us create custom Princess Foundation Program shirts with a crown inside of a heart. The program dressed up the bears in the custom shirts we did, along with candy cane tutus. When someone purchased one of our bears from the program, it was then donated to children battling illness during the holiday season. The funds raised from the bear purchases raised went to buying toys to put smiles on these little fighters faces during the most magical time of the year.