Former Destrehan Wildcat and current San Diego Charger Mike Scifres is doing what he can to make a difference in the lives of young children that are currently forced to remain in the hospital during the holidays.
The Mike Scifres’ Bears, Cares & Shares Program is a holiday event that donates bears to the children at The Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. The bears have been collected at Destrehan High School football games and 80 of them have been donated by Peake BMW. Scifres’ mother, Debbie Scifres, has also bought several bears.
So far, the Bears, Cares & Shares Program has collected 180 bears, and donations can still be dropped off at Destrehan High School.
“I just thought it was time to start doing things in the community where I am from,” Scifres said. “That’s where I first started playing this game and I care so much about the city of New Orleans and the people of New Orleans that I want to do what I can to help. I think this is a good place to start.”
Scifres has been a member of the Chargers for the past five years and once a month during that time he and his teammates have regularly visited sick children at hospitals. Scifres got the idea for a teddy bear drive from Chargers’ long snapper Dave Bin, who invited Scifres to take part in a similar program during his rookie season.
“I was thinking of something I could do back in New Orleans and thought this was something that could be a great thing for a long time to come,” Scifres said. “My first Christmas was in a children’s hospital, so my family knows exactly how it is to be in the hospital all day without having anything for Christmas.
“I want to have something there for the kids and families that have to go through the same situation. It meant so much to my family and hopefully it will mean as much to the families that receive the bears.”
Because of the current NFL season, Scifres will be unable to help drop off the bears on Dec. 15. Instead, members of the Destrehan football team will deliver the bears to the children.
“Mike called me and was wondering if we’d like to get involved, and obviously, it was a no brainer,” Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “He is trying to do good things for kids and we would love to do it also.”
Robicheaux is not sure just how many of his players will make the trip to the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans, but he knows one thing, he won’t have to search too hard for volunteers.
“I don’t think I will have any problems getting volunteers to do it,” he said. “It’s a good thing.”
After the Wildcats deliver the bears, Scifres will then make his way to the hospital at the completion of the NFL season.
“The best part about visiting the kids in the hospital is seeing their faces light up when someone besides a doctor comes in to talk with them,” Scifres said. “Being in the hospital for Christmas is tough as it is and this will give the kids and the families something while they are in there and hopefully it will brighten up their day.”