‘Others’ Award presented during 20th annual Teddy Bear Tea in Anchorage

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The Salvation Army Anchorage Women’s Auxiliary Board held its 20th annual Teddy Bear Tea Oct. 6 at the Anchorage Hilton with proceeds supporting local Salvation Army social service programs.

Sheila Balistreri, who emcees the event every year, received The Salvation Army “Others” Award during the tea for her 20 years of volunteerism and support of the Army’s mission. 

Program on table for 20th annual Teddy Bear Tea

“It has been an honor serving Alaskans and working toward helping the programs of The Salvation Army succeed,” said Balistreri, who received a standing ovation.

The event featured a traditional English high tea with artisanal teas donated by The Spice and Tea Exchange plus tea sandwiches and desserts. Guests bid on over 150 teddy bears hand-dressed by local volunteers in silent and live auctions. The bears represented themes including Cultures Around the World, Bears at Work and Bears at Play.

20th annual Teddy Bear Tea crowd and Salvationists holding Teddy Bears

“Pookie Bear,” dressed by Leda Cruger of Fairbanks, won Best in Show. Sporting a purple parka with an arctic-fox-fur ruff, gold-embellished trim and a pair of moose-hide moccasins with beaded-purple flowers, Pookie was sold during the live auction with donated furs from Alaska Fur Gallery. 

Teddy Bear Tea display

“The amount of support The Salvation Army has received from community members is evident through the care we are able to provide to Alaskans through our local social services programs,” said Major Pamilla Brackenbury, Divisional Director of Women’s Ministries and Program. “It was a wonderful event turnout and we could not have done it so successfully without our teddy bear dressers, supporters and event sponsors.”

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